Audio books, the current saviour of bedtime. Three tired kids and one worn out Mum (whose husband is hiding somewhere at work) undeniably equals one tough part of the day.
We are currently half way through a CD of traditional bedtime stories, and as I’m trying to get the 8 week old to settle, my 5 year old curls up in bed and has a listen. It takes any tension out of the situation (i.e. that 3 kids needing you in 3 separate places all at the same time thing.) She thinks she is getting a real treat so it gives me an extra few guilt-free minutes with the (extra) little one and all and all makes that crazy hour a little easier. I have to say I have always been a bit sniffy about audio books, as I just thought they were a way of avoiding reading books, but having done a bit of research I have completely changed my mind.
Apparently, according to much cleverer people than me, audio books give the child more freedom to use their imagination as they are not directed by pictures on the page. It also helps practice their listening skills, which is a great one if your child is a bit wriggly when you try and read. If they move and miss something then they will soon learn that they will lose the thread of the story. Audio books also allow your child to enjoy books that are a bit harder than the ones they might try and read. Children who are put off books with lots of pages, or ones with lots of words have a different way in to a story they may otherwise not manage. And there are some really good ones out there at the minute. All of David Walliams books are on CD, Roald Dahl (read by himself!) Paddington and so on, all the classics that otherwise maybe too much to handle.
I’m not entirely sure what will happen when we get to the end of the CD, or how long I will get away with this as in my heart of heart I know it is only a short term solution. I am also keen that it doesn’t happen every night, as I do obviously want to still read to my daughter, especially as she has just started to want to read out loud too. However, I’m not going to beat myself up about it when things are so busy. She is certainly enjoying them, so I’m not going to stop something that works. There’s also the added bonus of using the same stories when out and about in the car, or when you simply need some down time. I suppose that this is the key to this whole blog, just do what works best for you and your family and make sure it is always enjoyable.