Getting your child to bed is a challenge at the best of times, and I think most parents know that a routine helps.
One of the bedtime routines I had growing up was my parents reading to me. In fact, I still have dozens of the books that were in my library at the time. Mom and Dad took turns reading to me when Dad was not travelling for work.
Before the pandemic struck, Jesse, Lilly, and I would have Sunday dinner at my Dad’s house, and after dinner, Lilly always got to choose someone to read her a story. Sometimes it was Grandpa. Other times it was Grandma Katherine or her Aunt Shannon (my sister) or her fiancé, Marc.
Unfortunately, the pandemic brought these family gatherings to a halt which meant my family could no longer read to Lilly.
Then I remembered Dad found a way to read to me when he wasn’t home by recording a story on cassette tape – this was long before the Internet, Smartphones, and YouTube. Dad doesn’t remember doing these stories but I certainly do.
I asked him if he would consider doing something similar for Lilly and he said sure. He picked up a few of Lilly’s favourite stories and said he’d let me know when he had something ready.
A week later, he sent me a YouTube link and I discovered several story videos under a channel called, Storytime with Grandpa Kelley. Dad had video-taped himself reading each story, included images from the book, and added graphics, transitions and other effects.
Every several days, Dad would post another story, and these stories quickly became part of Lilly’s bedtime ritual. Each night she could choose one Grandpa story and then two stories for me or Jesse to read.
During Storytime with Grandpa, my Dad often asks a question and it is funny watching Lilly respond as if he is in the room with us. Sometimes Dad adds an educational component such as counting, or describing something, or explaining the meaning of a word.
Books and reading are a big part of Lilly’s life and it has been interesting seeing her tastes and interests change as she grows older. Right now, she is into Robert Munsch, Pete the Cat, and Fancy Nancy, so Dad has done several of those stories.
These stories not only entertain Lilly, they give Jesse and me a bit of a break, too. Lilly looks forward to seeing a new story every week and it gives my Dad the opportunity to stay connected with his grand-daughter even though he doesn’t see her very often right now.
If you would like a bit of break during your child’s bedtime routine, check out my Dad’s YouTube channel. I think you’ll like it! If you are interested subscribe so you don't miss his next story!
Do you read at bedtime? What does your routine look like?