Earlier this summer, I decided to stock up on audiobooks for the kids because I wanted to try to keep the tv off as much as possible. I asked in a Charlotte Mason-type Facebook group which ones would be best for the kids, and added a lot of them to a wishlist on Amazon. I started buying one every couple of weeks, and then once I set up my gofundme page, the rest were generously donated.
I didn't realize what a difference it would make in our day to spend time listening to audiobooks. I HOPED they would helped, but I never imagined HOW MUCH they would help, or how much the kids would love them.
I have a radio in their room so that they can listen to stories while they play, get ready for bed, and fall asleep. I usually just keep a cd in the radio so that the kids can turn it on themselves when they go play. The cd player is simple enough that two of the three know how to play, pause, stop, and skip. I usually keep Dr Seuss or Arnold Lobel in their room.
I don't currently have a radio in the living room, but the dvd player plays cd's so that has been working just fine. We usually do an hour or so of tv first thing in the morning, when I am still trying to wake up enough to function ;) The kids often wake up well before I want them to, and I am absolutely not a morning person.
I try to be...
I have good intentions.
I always think, "I'll get up before the kids, make a nice pot of coffee, set up a prayer station outside with my bible, journal, and art supplies, and spend some nice quiet time alone with God."
Every single time I set an alarm for the morning, SOMEONE is up before it. Sometimes even just one minute before the alarm goes off. I don't bother setting alarms anymore.
So anyway, that is why we do tv time first thing in the morning.
Some days, we do tv time all day, so that I can catch up on chores or work or whatever it is I need catching up on. But, those are the days that the kids' behavior is noticeably worse, and I am really trying hard to not have those days anymore. Instead, I've been turning on audiobooks.
When the tv has been on for awhile and they start fighting over what is going to be watched next, I turn on an audiobook.
When the kids start complaining that they're bored, I turn on an audiobook.
When I need to make dinner and it's too late for electronics (5 pm in the summer, 4 pm during the school year), I turn on an audiobook.
When it is just too darn hot to play outside and the kids aren't getting along, I turn on TWO audiobooks and split them up.... two in one room, one in the other.
Audiobooks have been saving my sanity, helping the kids to settle down and get creative, improving their vocabulary, and helping them fall asleep faster and easier than ever before. Often, as soon as I turn on a story, the kids all start playing on the floor nicely right in front of the radio or dvd player. Their imaginations go wild, and they'll play for hours.
Even the 2 year old has started quoting the stories and asking for them by name. The 3 year old and 5 year old have favorite stories from each cd and sometimes argue about which one they can listen to first. Sometimes they ask me to read certain stories along with the cd so that they can look at the pictures.
Two other favorite resources of mine for audiobooks are Audible and Librivox. Librivox is free, which is always a plus. I bought a bluetooth speaker so that I can play audiobooks on my computer while I work. I can keep the speaker near the kids while I sit at the table working with my computer. Audible is great as well, because not only do you get one book a month (and the first month is free!), you can also save 30% on additional audiobooks, exchange books that you don't like, and cancel any time while KEEPING your books. I like to use the Audible credits for bigger books, like Gone With The Wind which would've been $50 otherwise, and then buy less expensive books for the kids. I've gotten books under $2 from Audible, like a couple of books from the Anne of Green Gables series, and several books by Tolkien for the kids. AND, you can use Audible without having a membership. I can't currently afford to pay $15 a month for their membership, BUT I do still occasionally buy books that are $5 or less. And I still have access to my entire library.
I'm going to link our favorites below. If you have any favorites that aren't mentioned here, please feel free to comment below so that we can discover some new favorites!
Arnold Lobel Audio Collection CD
Winnie-the-Pooh Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
Little Bear Audio CD Collection
By E.B. White - Stuart Little (Unabridged) Audio CD
Magic Tree House Collection: Books 1-8
The Cat in the Hat and Other Dr. Seuss Favorites
Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss
The Roald Dahl Audio Collection
The Chronicles of Narnia Collector's Edition