12 Surprising Reasons Kids Should Listen to Audiobooks
Updated: Aug 15, 2022
Audiobooks have proven to be a favorite way for millions of adults to expand their knowledge and consume stories from their favorite authors. You may even remember the first time you listened to an audiobook or podcast and thought, "I like this!"
Well, here are 12 surprising reasons why you should share the world of audio storytelling with your kids.
Develop Reading Skills
The first book that I learned how to "read" was a picture book that I asked my mom to read to me so many times that I memorized every word. I even learned the cues for each page turn so that I could convincingly fake. Well, something funny happened as I was trying to con my way through pre-school. The lines and squiggles started to make sense and I recognized common words in other places!
This is called decoding and audiobooks can help with decoding words when kids listen and follow along with the print book. A friend of mine said this is exactly what her 2-year-old does. "We listen to Pinkalicious at least 5 times a day. I love reading to her, but she is enjoying the independence of listening and turning the pages herself."
Provide learning Independence
It turns out that the "Independence" my friend pointed out is also a huge benefit of its own. Allowing your kids to have some autonomy gives them a sense of control and builds their confidence.
Do you have a child who likes to be the boss? I'm sure you've found that giving them some control makes life a whole lot easier. The thing is if you are going to give them free rein to explore anything they want then you need to be confident that the content is appropriate for them. Learn more about our recommended children's audio platform at the end.
Exposing children to more spoken words ultimately helps them develop vocabulary and language skills. Audiobooks allow kids to enjoy stories with vocabulary above their current reading level and get exposure to more words. It's always helpful to follow up with your kids to check for understanding and define new words for them.
Help with Pronunciation
My wife works with kids in elementary schools all day to help them improve their speech. She does a lot of technical work to help kids learn the proper mechanics to produce sounds but she constantly repeats words back to the students and asks "Can you hear the difference?"
When my wife recently corrected one of her students he said, "I think your ears are playing tricks on you." 🤣🤣🤣
He couldn't perceive a difference between what he said and what he heard because it takes time to train our ears and brain to recognize proper pronunciation. Increased exposure to hearing people speak properly helps us recognize differences in speech as well as vocabulary.
Decrease Screen Time
In a world filled with screens, it is important to teach kids how they can use technology appropriately. Let them choose between listening to a book or watching a show after teaching them some of the benefits of reducing screen time like improved mental health, physical health, and social interaction.
Now, will your kids prefer audiobooks over movies? Probably not. But most kids also prefer chocolate chip cookies over vegetables and responsible parents still make sure they don't only eat cookies. Why? Because it is the responsibility of parents to nourish their kids, audiobooks are the way you can "nourish" your child's tech diet. I think it is increasingly important that we teach kids how to have healthy relationships with technology.
"We are OBSESSED. We didn’t watch one show today and my daughter has been asking to listen to books all day. I could tell a difference in her imagination with playing and her attitude literally within hours… no joke!"
Inspire Creativity and Imagination
Because audiobooks are screen-free, children are empowered to use their imaginations and lead their playtime. They aren't shown what anything should look like and as a result, everything can look however they think it should be. Child-led play may also help your child develop leadership skills as he/she is empowered to make creative decisions.
Create Positive Habits
Do your kids fight you when it's time to get in the car? Or what about when it's bath time? Once you find a favorite audiobook or podcast then audio can be an effective way of rewarding good behavior like wearing seatbelts or getting ready for bed.
Not only that, but you are also showing your kids how they can use technology to learn things from a medium other than videos. You are building a foundation on which your kids can build a love for listening to audio while they do other things.
Get Exposure to New Ideas
My favorite thing about good audio content is that it makes me feel like I'm part of a conversation with really smart people. Different perspectives, histories, cultures, and genres are all just a click away.
Finding good recommendations for children's audiobooks can be time-consuming so Storier curates fresh playlists like "Stories Made into Movies", "Black History Month", and even "National Pizza Day"!
And make sure to join the AudioKid community and join our forums for recommendations.
Improve Critical Thinking
Being exposed to new and different ideas is what allows us to begin thinking for ourselves and make sense of the world around us. According to a study from KidsListen.org, 73% of kids initiate discussions related to topics in podcasts and the majority of kids will ask for more information about what they listened to.
It is common for kids who read at a level below their peers to feel embarrassed and anxious to read in front of others. Audio is awesome because none of that matters. Kids who are struggling with reading can thrive with audiobooks and can find a passion for books that often translates into the printed version.
You'll recognize this confidence grow within your kids as they become more eager to tell you about the new things they are learning and ask questions about new words and ideas.
You Can Relax
Taking care of kids is a lot of work. It is exhausting to always be coming up with things for them to do. But what could be easier than listening to a story? Listen with your kids, simply relax, or use the time to tidy up.
You can even use stories to keep sibling rivalries at bay listening together during road trips, making crafts, or building a fort. What parent doesn't want their kids to get along better?
Get to Sleep Faster
Anyone who has tried putting kids to sleep knows that picture books aren't always the best way to set the mood for sleep. Kids can be distracted, uncomfortable, and if the lights are on then you are just asking for them to be fidgety and get out of bed.
Bedtime is the perfect time to cuddle up with your kids, turn off the lights, and listen to a book together. Bedtime stories help us fall asleep at least in part because they allow us to be distracted from thoughts that make us stay awake.
"Stories can act as relief for our busy brains and shift our attention to something peaceful and serene.”
Plus, They're Entertaining
Most importantly of all is that kids love listening to stories! Some parents worry that their kids won't be able to pay attention to audiobooks because there are no pictures. But storytelling is core to who we are as people and good stories can captivate everyone. If you enjoy audiobooks and podcasts then there is a good chance your kids will love them too!
How to Get Started
It can be hard to find appropriate books for your kids that they will love. Plus when you do, they can be shockingly expensive! (Are you really going to use your monthly credit on a story for your kids?)
Storier is an audiobook, podcast, and music platform curated 100% for kids and it is way cheaper than other options out there. With your subscription, you get unlimited access to classic stories like "Peter Pan", "Little Women", "The Hardy Boys", "Nancy Drew" and so many more!
Plus you can add premium stories like "Warriors", "Pinkalicious", and "The one and Only Ivan" to your library with your monthly tokens.
It is ad-free, screen-free entertainment for your kids that you won't feel guilty about. Everyone gets a whole month of listening for FREE(!!!) so it is the perfect way to try out
audiobooks with your family.
I know there are a lot of other benefits from audiobooks that I haven't even mentioned so let me know in the comments what surprising benefits you think I should have included.