One of my least favorite parts of my husband’s career is the long amount of time that he is kept away from home. This is especially hard on kids who love routine. The impact of his work demands seem to hit them hardest at bedtime when Dad isn’t home to read them stories and put them to bed.
The first night it was fun to have mom step in as a guest reader. By the third night they were really missing Dad at bedtime and it became an emotional uprising.
Something had to be done to better the bedtime routine.
Addressing the heartache
I could push through and keep up the reading in his absence or abandon that part of the routine completely, but neither of those options addressed our kids’ feelings.
So instead of trying to fill the gap myself, we decided to lean on technology to address the heartache.
One evening my husband set aside some time and recorded himself reading a small stack of the boys’ favorite books. In just half an hour there were enough books recorded to last through a week of bedtime stories.
The following night he sat with them with one of the books in his hand. Then reached out to his phone and pressed play. Their eyes lit up listening to Dad reading the story from the audio file while turning the pages in front of them. He explained that even thought he couldn’t always be present for the full bedtime routine he would still is able to read them stories.
How to create a collection of bedtime stories
There is an abundance of ways to record audio readings of a story, but we simply use “Voice Memos” on our iPhones.
We make sure to save each audio file individually and title it with the name of the book for easy access when the story is needed.
Reading and recording just 20 minutes a day for a week creates a great collection with a variety of bedtime stories to pull from when a parent is away.
We choose to use books that we own and have readily accessible on our shelves so the kids can pull the book they would like to hear and follow along with the words and pictures.
Expanding your story collection
The beauty of creating a catalog of audio stories for your kids is you can create a collection of stories by a variety of readers as well.
As a military family you know the struggle of living far from family. Try having grandparents record a story! In just 5-10 minutes you can have a lasting capture of their voice that will be treasured for years to come.
Now you just have to decide what books to record first!
Is your family separated by deployment or military assignment? Check out United Through Reading created by the spouse of a Navy Flight Surgeon to connect military families through the read-aloud experience.