A recent study by the charity BookTrust of 1,000 parents with children under-10 has found that an increasing number of parents are more than happy to use devices such as tablets and Amazon Alexa’s to read their children bedtime stories.
The study showed that parents believe the best time to start reading with their child is at age: 0-1 year for print books; 2 years for interactive e-books and 3 years for simple ebooks.
With around one in four (26 per cent) of UK, parents have said they had tried to use devices for bedtime stories. For parents who do read stories with their child at night, technology is now a part of their families bedtime routine. More than half said they choose to use a smartphone, tablet, app or YouTube to read a bedtime story instead of doing it themselves.
65 per cent of parents said they would allow their children time on a smartphone, tablet, YouTube or in front of the TV, instead of sharing a bedtime story.
28% of the parents surveyed said that they managed to find the time to share a story with their youngsters every evening, with just under a third blaming work or commuting for missing out and one in five saying they simply felt “too busy”.
Is this a sign of the times or lazy parenting?
Now, I’ve always said I would be open and honest.
I hold my hands up. I am guilty of allowing my children time on their devices. Somedays more than others. But not in place of bedtime stories.
I’ve been sat thinking about this and I can see this from different points of view.
- Does the child actually want a bedtime story?
- Is the parent choosing to use a device because they aren’t there at bedtime, poorly, illiterate?
- Is this the parent’s choice because they can’t be bothered?
I’ve asked some of my fellow bloggers what their thoughts were and if they thought if This The End Of Bedtime Stories…
Lianne from Anklebiters Adventures ‘I’m against this! I love the traditional book. My two love going to the library or book store to chose a book – they also love their bookshelf and have favourites they go and get each night’
Sarah from Kippers And Curtains ‘We take it in turns to read to our 7-year-old son every night. We read for 30 minutes and he really enjoys it. His sisters are older but we did the same for them. I think using a device is OK every now and then but it’s nothing like the real thing.’
Claire at Big Family Big Fun Blog ‘Not a fan myself. Children are only young for such a short time, reading to them helps nurture their love of reading from a young age. I’m sure even the busiest parents can spare 5 minutes a day.’
Fern at Mumconventional. ‘Completely against it. I read my 3-year-old a story every night and it gives us a chance to bond, learn some letters and try to do some word recognition. Stories are so helpful. They also help you unwind! I have so many lovely memories of my parents reading stories to me when I was growing up and if I was just left on my own with a robotic voice I’d have been devastated.
Lisa at The Family Ticket. ‘I personally think its lazy and just a poor excuse. You should make the time for your children no matter what.
I think it’s great for an additional storyteller but never a replacement. Carry on with technology replacement for parenting and we’ll soon have a bunch of emotionless robots for kids (maybe a bit of an over exaggeration)’
Tracey at Pack The PJs. ‘I guess I was guilty of similar. My children always listen to audiobooks in bed .. and still do now they are 10 and 12. To be honest, they preferred this .. had I been in the room reading to them, I’d become a distraction! I read to them up to around pre-school – then the audiobooks took over.’
Chantelle at Two Hearts One Roof. ‘I do bedtimes in our house, hubby does teeth before bed so he is involved, but is often working (from home) I have started alternating reading and watching a Peter Rabbit episode on Iplayer. I am a big reader myself, so am very pro reading and we often have books out during the day anyway. If I have already read some books with him earlier in the day, then we might watch the Peter rabbit episode instead. I mainly started this because I am pregnant with number 2 and was finding staying awake at bedtime very difficult if I was reading. So now we cuddle up on his chair under a blanket and watch an episode if I’m very tired/or we have read a lot that day already. He is still cuddled on my lap so I’m not spending any less time with him and we have enjoyed following the Peter Rabbit stories, so now we have a Peter Rabbit book which he sometimes asks for instead. I think it’s important to mix it up a little.
Natasha at Mummy and Moose ‘I am against it but I do it. I grew up with my nose stuck in a book, lost in some far away tale. Reading to my children is really important to me. Passing on my love of stories os something i loved doing with my older 2. However, last year I started to lose my sight. Some days my binocular vision is so poor that I cannot make out the words on the page so on those days Alexa helps me out.
It means that I still get the opportunity to share a story with my son. We curl up together to listen and just for a moment on my worst days I don’t feel like I am failing.’
Karen at That Lancashire Lass. ‘I use ours at bedtime. I will read a story and then they will listen to meditation after that through a device. Sometimes the bigger children just listen to meditation.’
Kayleigh at Candy Floss Dreams. ‘I am all for it. We have audible and a range of books that we listen to together. I loved listening to audiobooks as a child before I went to bed because it wasn’t just one book or one chapter, I could happily listen to as much as I wanted. My daughter (8) reads to me for school and then listens to audiobooks before bed. It doesn’t take away from any quality time we have together.’
Anuma at Happy Life With Anuma. ‘We use both and both have their own benefits. We first pick our favourite book to read, where we can cuddle and create the bond together, teach them a little bit of speech and pronunciation and later on we put on our sleep stories on our device which kids enjoy listening to, and it makes them fall asleep soon.’
Rebecca at Becca Blogs It out. ‘I’m on the fence! The twins love an audiobook and we do have an app that tells sleepy stories that I play while they’re settling down… But that’s after our storytime. I love reading to them and really enjoy that time. So we do both, I guess.’
Mandy at Mum-atron At Work. ‘interesting although I think it’s nice to still have that physical connection of sitting together cuddled up….however, a sign of the times and all that.
However, as a person who stammers and has a child that stammers, we value the time it gives us to communicate and teach good communication and speech pattern. Also, it’s just nice to see their wee faces at exciting bits.
Good maybe for older kids.’
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Amy at Mum Full Of Dreams. ‘I have absolutely no comment on other parents using these devices, it is their decision and technology is advancing every day so I see no need to judge. That said… we love reading in our house, my nearly 3 years old often helps himself to a book and sits and reads while at bedtime we’ve reached a point that Harry is reading Room on the Broom to Daddy because he knows and loves it so well! ‘Buzz off, that’s my witch!’
Rebecca at Living With Peas. ‘In really 50/50 on this. I think it massively depends on the kid’s age as well. I think it’s great for parents who struggle to read/read aloud or have learning difficulties. I would personally not do it as story-time is a special time for my family to be together and spend time with each other. I also think it’s important for children to interact with books and see pictures etc.’ I’m not too keen on the phrase ‘they don’t have time’ as that sounds like their children are the lowest priority on their list of things to do.