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Tidy Books US

Putting books at the heart of your child’s world

  • Should shops have a reading corner for kids?

    It’s interesting how parenting roles change as your children get older. One minute you’re doing everything for them, the next they’re starting to do things for themselves... and before you know it there are things they definitely don’t want you doing for them – like taking them shopping!

    Now that my two are in their teens they’d be mortified if I tagged along on their shopping trips. But it doesn’t seem that long ago that they were hanging around my ankles, bored and fractious, while I tried to grab kids’ clothes off the rails and get to the tills before one of them had a meltdown.

    I have to say I don’t miss those stressful shopping expeditions. And today when I see parents trying to shop with kids I really feel for them. I’ve been there and know what it’s like! Which is why it’s great to see that some shops have introduced reading corners to keep kids occupied while their mum and dad shop. 

    reading corner, book corner, book corner in shops, book corner in cafe, kids retail Taking kids shopping, with a book. Credit @marthe.camille

    A reading corner to entertain kids while parents shop

    While there are retail outlets that cater for kids with soft play areas, touch-screen games and interactive entertainment, I like the idea of a little reading corner where children can sit and quietly read a book. The last thing you want when you’re out shopping is your kids running around getting hyper or spending more time staring at a screen. 

    With a reading corner, kids can pick a book and lose themselves in a brilliant story for a while. Instead of getting bored and rushing their parents to go, they’re more likely to want to stay. And if it inspired kids to read more at home, that would be a real bonus.

    It would be brilliant if more shops provided a book corner. It wouldn’t need to take up much space – some shops already use Tidy Books to create a reading space using our slimline bookcase  and portable book box  – yet it would make such a difference to the shopping experience. And how about a book corner in cafes, too? That would be perfect for shopping breaks when you have the kids in tow. Just imagine it – happy customers and happy kids... and no tantrums!

    * Would you like to see reading corners in shops?  Let me know what you think in the comments below

    tidy books, kids bookshelf, kids storage, kids furnitureGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world. 

  • Dogs, robots... and children's reading

    I’m all about finding ways to encourage children’s reading so I was intrigued to hear about an American research project that created a robot ‘book buddy’ to inspire kids to read.

    Minnie the robot was programmed so that as the children read aloud it made relevant comments – like ‘Oh, wow, I’m really scared’ when they got to a scary bit in the book. Minnie also made eye contact and small movements to replicate a real-life reading buddy. At the end of the two-week study , the children showed a high level of motivation to read along with positive benefits such as having a good understanding of the books and remembering more about them.

    childrens reading, children's reading, kids reading, reading therapy, reading therapy dogs, reading with robots, tidy books, independent reading All the joy of reading to yourself Photo @irina_pushko

    The researchers reckoned Minnie was successful because it acted as a non-judgemental children's reading partner. Having a robot to read to was fun and allowed the children to enjoy the simple act of reading without worrying about being corrected by an adult if they missed a word out or mispronounced something.

    It’s not the first research using non-human book buddies. In another American study youngsters who read aloud to dogs saw their reading skills improve by over 10% over ten weeks. Just like Minnie, the four-legged friends provided a relaxed environment where kids could make mistakes and carry on uncorrected.

    As parents, it’s easy to think the best way to help our kids become better readers is to put them right when they go wrong – but as these studies show when children are relaxed about reading they’re inspired to keep doing it. And the more they read the more they improve and the more their confidence grows.

    Frankly I’m glad that my kids didn’t have to resort to reading to a robot when they were growing up, but it’s good to know that if you spot your child curled up on the sofa with a book and the family cat they’re going to be just fine. 

    geraldine grandidier, tidy booksGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world. 

     

  • Less is more (and, yes, it might cost a bit more)

    Last night I was sitting reading a book and I realised my sofa was 20 years old. It’s as comfortable as it was when I bought it and still looks great in my lounge. I’ve never had the urge to buy a new one. I just don’t understand the desire to get rid of things before they’re broken or need replacing. I’m all about sustainability and longevity.

    Apparently our throwaway culture goes back to 1930s America when planned obsolescence’ products deliberately designed with a short lifespan – was used as a way to stimulate the economy after the Depression. People were encouraged to buy mass produced, disposable products that they didn’t actually need – and unfortunately, the idea stuck.

    sustainability; sustainable design; sustainable kids furniture; sustainable furniture; tidy books When less is more. Sustainable and timeless kids bookcases. Credit @nyearthur

    It’s the total opposite of what we do at Tidy Books, where everything is made with sustainability in mind. I don’t design to fit into a trend but focus on well made, timeless products that don’t date and can be passed down from sibling to sibling. I want our products to stay in your home – not end up in landfill.

    It surprises me when some people ask why our products are more expensive. When something seems cheaper maybe there’s a hidden cost like cheap factory labour or a cost to the environment such as the use of toxic lacquer. If you buy one thing that you cherish and that lasts, surely that makes more financial sense than buying something cheap and cheerful that soon gets chucked away for more of the same? One of our customers told us she’d had her bookcase for 15 years and it was still going strong. Quality costs less in the long run – and sustainable furniture costs the environment less too.

    I’ve always been quite eco-conscious and I’m not into buying something new just for the sake of getting the latest, trendiest model. I think that might be down to my upbringing – I was brought up in France by my grandparents, who were of a generation that never wasted anything and only bought what they needed. My appreciation of timeless quality was also instilled in me in my former job as a violin maker creating musical instruments that were designed to last for hundreds of years.

    I can’t guarantee that your Tidy Books product will last quite that long but it definitely covers my ethos – to buy one thing well and keep it!

    Do you look out for kids designs that offer sustainability?

    tidy books, kids bookshelf, kids storage, kids furnitureGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

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