Along the way, I’ve found that some of my audiobooks from Audible have been sneaking into my parenting strategies.
Preschooler whining in the car? Just blast my latest audiobook through the car speakers and he’s instantly engaged! It wasn’t my proudest moment… but it sparked a great idea.
It’s amazing how a little change of pace (audiobooks are new territory for most kids) can really break kids out of that in-the-moment stubbornness.
My strategies have graduated since that desperate airing of my mommy-novel through the car speakers, and I want to share a few super easy ways to use audiobooks as an excellent parenting tool!
I’m really thankful when I find a parenting tool that JUST WORKS. Lately, that’s been my Audible.com account, and the surprisingly extensive selection of kids’ audiobook titles to choose from.
If you’re not familiar with it already, Audible is a seller and producer of spoken audio entertainment, information, and educational programming. They have digital audiobooks, radio, and T.V. programs, and audio versions of magazines and newspapers. It’s a one-stop shop for all things information and it’s easily accessed on any smart device.
Added bonus: the kid’s audiobooks are pretty inexpensive! I tend to use my free monthly Audible credits toward my favorites, then buy the cheap-o kid audiobooks for them. And since my kids listen to them over and over again, and I can keep them on multiple devices as long as I want, it’s well worth it to me.
We’ve partnered up with Audible to get you a 30-day trial with free download so you can check out the selection for yourself (and try some of these strategies!)
How we solve 5 preschooler struggles using audiobooks
1. Break The TV Time Blues
Have you noticed how there’s a sweet spot between the kids happily watching TV and becoming cranky monsters with no listening skills? (I know it can’t just be my kids…)
When I see behavior going downhill, I pull the plug on TV and try to reset their habits.
Our Audible downloads have been that perfect balance for us during those “reset” times. Mom gets a few minutes to finish up dinner, and my boys get to snuggle on the couch, fully engaged in their favorite audiobook.
(I find it funny that my son just has to look at the screen, even though it’s entirely audio!)
2. Quiet Time Focus
Some days my 4-year-old will still nap; some days I know he just won’t, so I don’t push it. Instead, we break out our favorite quiet time activities.
On these days, he tends to have too much energy to sit still (hence, no napping) and he’ll end up creating a tornado of destruction in his room! I’ve even added in some classical music, which helps settle him into some constructive play… sometimes.
But this audiobook thing has been magic for us lately!
He lights up when I hand him the headphones, his beloved audiobook (I like the Dr. Seuss audiobooks for quiet time — they’re longer), and a puzzle or craft.
I think the added mental stimulation from the audiobook gives him a place to focus that extra energy, and his hands can be free to create.
3. Nix The Bedtime Delays
If story time is part of your bedtime routine, then you know how quickly they can start to rebel against the books if they sense the end of play coming.
On nights that I know will be rough, I like to bring along the audiobooks to match as we flip through the book together. The novelty of a new voice keeps my son engaged (and he can’t interrupt to delay with 598 questions!)
4. Give The Big Picture on Learning the ABC’s
My son loves gross motor activities; the only way he likes to sit still is for sensory or cutting activities. So when we do some literacy activities, I have to get creative to encourage him (he loves this follow-the-string scavenger hunt).
If you find your preschooler isn’t gung-ho toward learning his letter sounds, uppercase and lowercase letters, or sight words, try gently working in his favorite audiobooks during other activities (like the ones here).
Hearing an interesting story that is currently above his reading level gives context to learning all those letters and sight words, as well as motivation to keep going.
5. Give Grandma A Silly Reading Voice
As primary caregivers, we have the joy of reading kids’ books over and over until we can perform the perfect squeaky mouse voice or truck crashing sounds. The sillier we make it, the more they engage and learn to love the stories.
But sweet grandma, grandpa, or any babysitter may not always be so skilled (yet). Give them a leg up!
The Audible audiobooks we’ve used so far have such entertaining performances, they’re a great inspiration for reading a story in a super-engaging way! Grandma will be thankful for the resource.
Tips to make audiobooks a successful parenting tool.
Familiar Stories Are Best
Stick to books you have read with your child already. If it’s a new story, at least get them excited by sharing some of the highlights of the adventure.
This will help your child become a willing listener and enjoy the anticipation of what comes next.
Audiobooks Don’t Replace Real Books
With young kids, it’s important to use audiobooks as an accompaniment to books, not a replacement for reading. It’s an excellent example of the excitement that can be found when they learn to read!
Once you pick your favorites on Audible, consider swinging by the library to pick up a matching copy of the book so you can follow along together.
My favorite technique is to keep my finger moving along the words while the audiobook plays. It really gets my son asking what each word says!
Try Hiding The Screen
Kids are trained to look at any screen that glows these days. Even though the audiobooks from Audible don’t show any moving images, I still like to challenge my son to flip it away, close his eyes, and tune in.
It’s a great exercise in detailed listening practice and works best with books that your child is already familiar with.
Keep It Sacred
Most of all, don’t overdo the audiobook exposure. I know, I’m raving about using audiobooks to help your preschooler through daily struggles; but make sure you protect them as a special tool used only in a positive light.
And you don’t want that audiobook pixie dust to wear off too quickly!
Preschooler-approved favorites on Audible.com
To get you started on your 30-day trial with free download, here are some of our all-time favorites!
- Audiobooks written and narrated by Mo Willems (Pigeon series, Knuffle Bunny, Edwina)
- Curious George Rides a Bike, by H.A. Rey
- Llama Llama series, by Anna Dewdney
- Dr. Suess favorites (Cat in the Hat, The Lorax, Green Eggs and Ham, and more!)
- Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker
- The Pout-Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen
- Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andreae
Which preschooler struggle will you conquer this week with your audiobooks?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible. The opinions and text are all mine.