View Full Version : Do you let your child experiment with (eat, tear, destroy) books?
02-04-2006, 09:57 AM
Alek loves books and we have a lot of them. He does play rough with them sometimes, and has torn out maybe 4-5 pages, ripped another page, and sometimes has chewed a particular book enough to cause obvious damage. Today he was destroying an inexpensive pop up, and having so much fun with it.
I've been pretty lax about this. Several of his books have paper pages, which are not sturdy and probably a little advanced for him, but we like the variety. (No expensive pop ups for quite a while, though, even though he lofves them!)
Any thoughts on how to handle this? I don't mind, but I don't want this to continue. Also. I need to make some repairs to some of the books. Is there a certain type of tape I should use?
02-04-2006, 10:17 AM
This is a tough one because I have always thought that books should be respected and that I would want my dc to respect them as well. On the other hand, my dc also have a ton of fun playing rough with their books, and they are too young to intentionally harm or destroy the books, iykwim?
I guess my general thinking is that paper page books are entirely off limits, my dd can be trusted with them, my ds cannot. Pop-up books are fair game, these books get DESTROYED regardless of what I try to do. I have taped, and re-taped, and still I have pop-ups with no pop-up parts! So while, I won't let my dc just pull them off the shelves to destroy them, if they want to look at the pages and something gets torn in the meantime, oh well.
02-04-2006, 10:28 AM
We used mostly the free books from Chick-Fil-A kids meals as chewers, until DD seemed ready to look at them and not eat them! I had to tell her "not to eat!" while shaking my head and signing NO for a long time after she became interested in looking at them, though. Using mostly those freebies made it much easier! :) We still don't use many books that aren't board books. Some of her favorites are the cloth Elmo books, which she takes to bed with her. HTH!
02-04-2006, 10:50 AM
Good question! For the most part, I let her explore the books her way which meant we sometimes had damage. While most of the books have been board books, some of them aren't. I just figured she had to learn the books would be "broken" this way. Usually when damage occured, I would be around (with the except of her Good night Moon board book which she chewed in her crib, but just the corner). So I would say, "Gentle..." or "Oh it's a little broken" or "oh, you broke it...oh well. You can be more gentle next time." But I never made it a big deal. For the more expensive books, if I saw she was being too rough, then the book would disappear for awhile. But I've gotten a ton of books from Bookcloseouts and so I haven't worried about most of them.
As for repairs, for the most part I haven't bothered with it, but for the few I did repair, I just used scotch tape, since they weren't that expensive books in the first place.
Oh, and to answer your question, Kaya has become much more careful with her books. Occasionally a page might get a tear, but she's sort of learned that she can tear apart catalogs, but she should be more gentle with her books. She's just starting to leaf through the paper books a little more reliably now, so I may take out more of the bookcloseout books. :)
Anyway, I have no expertise nor much experience (sampling size of 1, LOL), but I think it really helped Kaya to be able to experience the book with all of her senses, even if it included a little bit of eating and tearing. She really does enjoy sitting in her quiet area looking through her books (most of them are board books still, but some are paper books) and talking out loud about them. :D
http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/candle.gif for Leah
Kaya's a cousin! 10/1/05, 5lb13oz
02-04-2006, 12:26 PM
I totally agree with Eileen. I have always treasured books and have tried to teach my children the same. When my DD was younger I bought a lot of Usborne books(board books). She could not have torn those if she would have wanted to. The pop-ups though were fair game. There is no way to tell a curious toddler not to grab at them.
Now that my daughter is 4, she would never think to tear a page out of her books.
I always found great board books at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc. That way I wasn't as upset if they happened to get ruined.
02-04-2006, 12:35 PM
We just let her explore them. I think books are to be respected but not at the expense of my daughter's exploration.
We never bothered to tell her "no" or anything. We just encouraged her to be "gentle". She only tore a couple things out of "Tails". Now at 17 months she is very gentle with them. We read well over 2+ dozen different books a day, and she does paper books just fine.
I agree with this. We didn't want Rory to get in the habit of thinking books were for tearing, so we limited her selection to board books so she could explore them how she liked. In the past several months, we started adding regular books, because she is mature enough to understand when we tell her to be gentle. If she were to accidentally tear one, it wouldn't be any big deal, but we don't want her to do it on purpose.
I'd say let him go to town with a pile of old catalogs and magazines! My DD loved doing that!
I bought some nice thick clear tape at an office supply store for all repairs. I find that it holds better than scotch tape.
"Ma!" to Eliana May 2/5/04
02-04-2006, 04:24 PM
We don't let her damage books. A bit of incidental chewing damage, OK. If a book gets ripped, we are sad, and we put the books aside and do something else. Ripping moods are not book moods. Then we tape them up, otherwise they just get worse. Popups and flap books are for sitting in somebody's lap. At almost 2, she's pretty good now (we leave books with paper pages out, and all the recent tears have been sheer overexuberance).
02-04-2006, 11:11 PM
I second the suggestions to provide lots of catalogs: they are free, have great photography, help DS practice turning pages and satisfy his curiosity, and I don't feel bad when he rips apart page after page from the latest PBK catalog. We read lots of hardcover children's books too, and DS is quite careful with those, unlike catalogs. I don't know where he learnt the difference between catalogs and books, I don't remember teaching him.
I think it's very important to let children experiment with things in their environment, books included. We just need to arrange their environment so that they can do it in the ways that are acceptable to us.
02-06-2006, 10:39 AM
We don't let her intentionally damage the books. That is, if a page gets wrinkled or torn while she's trying to turn the page, fine. If a pop-up gets bent or ripped while she's trying to figure out how it pops up, fine. If she grabs the page and tries to rip it out while looking at me with an impish grin, we trade the book for a catalog and let her go to town!
mama to my cutie pie, Avery
17 months and counting!
DS is 2 1/2 so we pretty much let him handle all of his books (board and paper). I don't worry about the pages getting wrinkled from him handling the books. If he accidentally rips a page, I'll just tape it up with regular scotch tape. If he's purposely ripping the pages, then I'll take the book away from him.
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