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Holly Seddon admin
Holly Seddon
Editor-in-chief of Quib.ly
Kent, UK

5 experts and 11 parents have answered

expert answer
Christine Carlson expert
Christine Carlson Designer, Children's eBooks US
Software/app development expert

It's a great question and interesting that there seems to be a trend in the "guilty" feeling parents can have when reading bedtime stories using a tablet device. I agree with Jenny on this, in the sense that reading with your child - in whatever form or context - is what matters the most. It is the opportunity to share the experience of a story, to answer your child's questions, to have an exchange of ideas. Whether the story is in the form of a paper book, an ebook, or a made-up narration, it's the choice of the parent based on the nature of the story, their child, and past experience using these different media with their child. If one form of book helps support this interaction between parent and child more than another, then that's a good guide, regardless of it's 25%, 50%, or 100% of the total reading time.

Aside from my involvement in the creation of ebooks (& we have developed some of the most soothing, poetic, gentle books for bedtime that I've seen - "Whispered Wonders" as an example), I use a combination of print and digital books with my 6-year old daughter. We tend to read library books at bedtime, but also read an ebook or two in that mix, or ebooks one day and print the next. It's the choice of the book itself that makes the difference on whether it's appropriate for bedtime. Assuming parents are familiar with the book before introducing it to their child, then it can be a wonderful thing to have a selection of tools available to choose from when preparing children for a night of peaceful dreaming.

8 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
expert answer
Jane Chin, Ph.D. expert
Jane Chin, Ph.D. Eats Tiger Mothers for Lunch Los Angeles, US
Parenting skills expert

Once upon a time we read books stitched from bamboo sticks... I don't see any of us hauling out rolls of bamboo books! I agree with Chanda, I don't have a problem with iPad as a conduit for bedtime reading. Some children may prefer traditional books (paper), others may prefer the interactivity of an iPad. I suspect what children value is the time and sacred ritual of bedtime reading.

7 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
Anthony Flower
Anthony Flower Father of three & web developer Christchurch, GB

Personally speaking I prefer to read from actual books at bedtime. I think the excitement of the interactive elements of some books is counter productive to the reason we are reading them in the first place. Bedtime is about quiet, gentle time, a chance to fall asleep with a familiar voice in the background. An iPad doesn't offer this, it's like one of those awful plastic noisy toys, always calling the child back for more...

7 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
Jenny Hill
Jenny Hill Mother of 4 AU

I think regardless of whether the bedtime story comes from a 'real' book or an iPad or similar device, the value comes from the time spent reading to or with your child. Bedtime stories provide an opportunity for your child to feel valued, loved and enjoy one on one time with a parent. The act of reading to them role models a love of literature, words, imagination and provides a safe way to introduce 'sensitive' topics. My 3 eldest children grew up with me reading stories (real life, made of paper books!!) every night as part of their nightly routine. My youngest, born into the techy generation loves stories using an iPad. They all have developed an immense love of reading, all have great language and vocabulary skills. Whatever medium you choose, the importance is that you do it, read, read, and read to them some more!

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Experience 4 years ago
Chanda Gohrani admin
Chanda Gohrani Social media manager of Quib.ly London, GB

I think it is okay for the bedtime stories to be on an iPad. With the interactive elements, and great graphics, there are some beautiful pieces of bedtime stories on tablets. I see this as an advantage for the kids of this generation that we didn't have. In fact there are apps for long distance bed time stories too. Should the grandparents (or travelling parents) want to narrate a story to the grand kids, they can record some classic tales like Dr. Seuss in their own voice and the app will read it out for them.

Of course like anything else there has to be a time out from these toys too.

4 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
Anita Naik writer
Anita Naik Writer and mum of two London, UK

I do read books a lot from the iPad to my kids as I think the interaction level is good BUT not at bedtime due to the light from the iPad as it keeps them awake, whereas a book lulls them to sleep (or my droning voice).

Last year the American Medical Association issued a policy recognizing "that exposure to excessive light at night, can disrupt sleep or exacerbate sleep disorders, especially in children and adolescents." Any light at night can be disruptive, the researchers say, studies have zeroed in on the particularly potent "blue light" emitted abundantly from tablets, smartphones and computers.

3 Reply Share:
Fact 4 years ago
Nicola Gibb
Nicola Gibb PR, mother of one London, GB

Bedtime stories should definitely be read from a book. Research has shown the backlit technology has a detrimental effect on sleep. Sleep is so important for children's development. And for tired parents. I read my daughter stories from an iPad regularly and enjoy the interactivity that she has with them - but bedtime is about winding down, not play so my vote would absolutely be for books.

2 Reply ( 3 ) Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
Ivan Vega
Ivan Vega Always searching Playa del Carmen, MX

We read stories from both an iPad and physical books. Something I haven't seen being discussed is the fact that tablets are often seen as play devices. So when children see us read (to ourselves) only from such a device...

When I was growing up, it always awed me seeing my father's book collection, and it sparked a life long love of reading.

Our daughter is being exposed to paper books too, and she loves them. She often prefers that we read from those instead of the iPad.

So going back to my point, I wonder what would happen if all children see is their parents reading from a tablet. There's no way to convey the amount of knowledge one can gain as is possible with a paper library.

I know a time will come when paper books are no more, so we'll have to take an even more active role in exposing our children to knowledge I believe.

2 Reply ( 3 ) Share:
Experience 4 years ago
Heidi Scrimgeour writer
Heidi Scrimgeour Freelance scribe. Mother x2. County Antrim

I'm a purist when it comes to bedtime stories and would never allow the iPad in the bedroom after bath-time. It's fine to read books on the iPad (or the Kindle Fire which my lads each got for Christmas from their grandparents) at any other time but bedtime is all about winding down, and screen time has the opposite effect, in my view.

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Priya Desai expert
Priya Desai Speech and Language Therapist London, GB
Language expert

I would only use Ipad story times as a treat because I think children need to read and use real paper books; I say 'use' because for little fingers, it is a whole sensory experience learning to turn pages and develop the fine-motor skills, strength and control to do so successfully.

Here are a few more positives for reading a real book are:

  1. It's more fun to flick through pages and go back and forth to find something specific.

  2. It's easier on the eye to scan the page (or maybe that's just me!)

  3. You see greater detail in the illustrations hence there is more to appreciate and discuss with your child.

  4. Picture books are much bigger than Ipad texts; the bigger the better when reading with kids.

To summarize, for children who are learning about books and learning how to read, I think Ipad stories ares good if you are on the move or for a treat; otherwise paper books are the best.

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Stacie Davis expert
Stacie Davis Librarian Port Allen, US
Education expert

I don't think it's terrible, any reading is better than none, although the screen light may hamper sleepiness as many studies show. We do read stories on the iPad, but I usually do those in the daytime. It's too interactive and noisy for my 3 year old. I find he is more relaxed and receptive to being quiet and calm if we read physical books. There are books for kids that aren't interactive for iPad, that are more like a regular book so those may be a happy medium.

1 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
expert answer
Patrick Carroll expert
Patrick Carroll Primary Teacher, ICT Coordinator Armthorpe, GB
Education expert

Both have an important place. The interactivity of the iPad is fun and exciting but so is the touch of different fabrics and the reveal of lifting flaps. As has been said, it isn't about the text, it is about giving time to read the text, to enjoy the text, to bring it to life. Finally, one of my favourite moments each week is when we go to the library to choose our books because we look at them and flick through them. Slightly off point, but nonetheless...

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Opinion 3 years ago
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Experience 4 years ago
Anonymous
Anonymous

Foist??! The very choice of words shows what a sad world we live in. Just nothing like a printed book - they're not dead yet and they won't be anytime soon, thank heavens.

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Opinion 4 years ago
Kristin Bennett McNeely
Kristin Bennett McNeely Techie Designer Mom Seattle, Washington

I don't think it is that bad, in fact it would be REALLY cool if we had a generation of kids that refused paper books for environmental reasons etc... But we won't be joining this crowd anytime soon. We actually have a library room in our house...between my husband and I we each pretty much have a computer/tablet/phone on us at all times but we do have a lot of books accumulated between the two of us. I am hoping to someday be ready to let a lot of them go via Bookscrossing + Little Free Libraries... I see it as a way to build community and put all these books to a good use while still staying in touch with them :-)

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Opinion 3 years ago
John Kevin
John Kevin johnk

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Experience 3 months ago

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