Sometimes it seems like we always knew this stuff, but that certainly is not true. Someone told us, or we learned the hard way (and that’s no fun). Whether you’re new to programming for children or don’t appreciate that programming through the summer just magnifies the challenges of children’s programming in general, here are our tips. We hope that this is old news—but if it’s not, we hope it helps!
Always ask everyone before a program if they need to use the bathroom. You can have a cute way to ask, or you can make a grand announcement. However, once one child in your program announces that he or she has to “go potty,” then everyone will need to go. And even IF you have every child’s parent take him or her to the bathroom before a program, someone will still have to use the potty again. And by the way, if you are working with toddlers, summer is potty training season! There will be “an accident” somewhere in the library each summer. We hope for your sake it’s liquid and not solid!
Band-Aids are contagious. This is a fact! The need for a band-aid in a program spreads faster than the common cold virus! Inevitably someone will get a paper cut on a craft or have a legitimate reason for needing a bandage of some kind. However, once one child gets a band-aid, most of the rest of your group will show you scabs that need a band-aid or a microscopic wound that would feel much better with a band-aid on it. And whatever you do, don’t get anything other than boring beige band-aids. If you have character or colored band-aids, the contagion spreads farther and faster!
Shoe tying is not a required skill in school anymore. We hope that in your local school district this is not true. But “back in the old days” you couldn’t leave kindergarten without learning how to tie your shoes. Not so anymore. We tie a lot of shoes during programs. We’ve laced boots, double and triple knotted sneakers, and tried to teach some of our friends the “bunny ears” method of shoe tying. No matter what, there is always an untied shoe that must be addressed! Also, tied shoes are a good way to keep down the legitimate need for band-aids!
Even if you think you’ve planned for every allergy and food related issue, there will be a new one you never thought of! For us it was an allergic reaction to cherries. If the child touched cherries or something with cherry juice in it, he would have a violent reaction similar to anaphylaxis. So much for the vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free/peanut-free awesome activity we were doing! But all ended well, and no one needed a trip to the ER.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, and hopefully these things made you smile. We hope if you keep these ideas in mind, your summer programming will go much more smoothly. Have fun!