Monday, July 12, 2010

Winning Kids: Book Rippers!

Do Your Kids Tear Up Books?
Here's a Solution!
by Shara Lawrence-Weiss

Books are a special and valuable commodity. We want our children and students to respect books. Long before our time, children and adults alike were kept from books. Wealthy families provided their children with the luxury of literature but for many community members - books were something to be longed for.

Everything changed after the installment of public libraries. People of every walk, race, color, sex, religion and economic status were given the freedom to read!

Does that mean everyone takes advantage of the library? Sadly, no. However, it does mean that anyone who wants to read will likely find access to a plenitude of books...just minutes from their dwelling place.

Even though we may attempt to instill a respect of books in our children, many kids love to tear them up. Our daughter was one of those children. Soon after birth she promoted herself to Book Tearer Extraordinaire.

She ripped chapter books, short stories, collector books and even managed to shred board books right down the binding line (the only books she never tore up were her PCS books - but that's another article altogether).

Here is a photograph demonstrating a tad bit of her handywork, many months ago:

This book happened to be a favorite of her brother, back when he was younger. He was quite devastated that the book's desmise ended in such a horrific and tragic way.

My mother has worked in schools and classrooms for as long as I can remember. I phoned her up one day, in tears, and said: "Mom. She just won't stop. Every paper book we had on the kid's bookshelf has been annihilated. She seems to find great joy in tearing up our books. Help me!"

My mother replied: "Go to the Dollar Store. Buy her some coloring books. Tell her she is allowed to rip those up. Some kids just love to hear the RIP sound. Give her cheap books to tear up and explain that every other book is off limits. That will hopefully satisfy her urge to tear."

It worked. We explained to our daughter that the coloring books were hers to do with as she pleased. If she wanted to tear them up, fine. However, all other books were off limits. We allowed her to rip, tear and destroy the coloring books - to her heart's content. Within a few months, she had passed through the phase of tearing books.

At that point, her father took her to the local library and allowed her to check out her very first library book. Oh, the joy!

Shara Lawrence-Weiss is the owner of Mommy Perks, Kids Perks and Personal Child Stories. She has a background in early childhood, nanny work, published freelance, marketing and special needs.  This article is a repost from her site, Early Childhood News and Resources, where you can find many more ideas on caring for the children in your life.

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Annette W. said...

I'm curious how old your daughter was when you were able to use this logic with her...I'd like to try it!

My son has some definite confusion about pop-up books. He thinks they should work like lift-the-flap...and makes them tear-the-pop-up-flap. Ugh.

Carrie said...

Just fyi- there are some indestructible books now:

Shara: Mommy Perks said...

Annette: Hi! Our daughter was about two and a half when we used this logic on her.

Kids are pretty darn smart and understand more than they let on, verbally ;-) Their minds grasp the concepts even when they can't express that with words.

Give it a try!