This week I pulled my favorite question from Facebook, so far, this month. This just seems like the best problem to have. What would YOU do? Let us know in the comments!
What do you say to storytime kiddos who tell you they love you? I have a couple really affectionate little girls who will come over to me in the middle of a song or flannel story and give me hugs and kisses on the cheek, which immediately turns into group hugs. It’s always just a little interruption and then everyone goes back to their spots and listens again. But I’m baffled by how to respond to I love you’s. I thought about saying something like, “thank you, you are all my very favorite people.”
Answers (I’ve edited these from the originals to keep it short. I don’t want anyone giving me grumpy cat face.)
-At the end of storytime have everyone hug themselves (and you do it too) so they can all get a hug. It takes a while to work, but it does. Be patient!
-Tell them you love them, too!
-Hug them back!
-Say thank you. And follow up with something about how glad you are they came to the library.
-Offer high-fives, not hugs, but if a child offers a hug, hug back (I try to either be crouched down, or facing slightly to the side, as the child’s height can put them in an unfortunate location otherwise), and a kiss on the cheek from children gets them a big silly mwah air kiss or I blow a kiss to them.
-Show them how to say, “I Love You” in sign language (thumb, pointer finger and pinky finger up, two middle fingers tucked down toward palm). I encourage them to try it with both hands (this is harder!) and then I encourage them to find someone else in the room they love, and to say and sign “I Love You” to them (this takes the focus off of me, and puts it back on the children and their caregivers and is quite fun!).
-If it happens during the program address it like any other I HAVE TO INTERRUPT TO TELL YOU ABOUT MY FROG issue.
-Use a song! End the program by telling everyone you love them. Instead of the whisper, sing ” I love you and you and you and you (pointing around) then fling my arms wide and say Everybody!”
-Get caregiver eye contact to make sure everyone is OK with the hug, etc.
-Say and do whatever makes you comfortable