World Book Day - Tonies

The Witching Hour: Two Thirds of Primary School Aged Children Struggle To Fall Asleep at Night, A New Survey Reveals

  • Getting your child to wind down for bed is named the trickiest part of the evening by over a third of parents (35%)

  • A massive 71% say that good old-fashioned storytelling helps your kids wind down at bedtime, with almost half naming it their preferred method (49%)

  • It takes on average 94 minutes for parents to get their children from getting them in their pyjamas to falling asleep

  • During National Storytelling Week, child psychologist Dr Kairen Cullen explains why storytelling is so crucial to the bedtime routine for children and parents alike

  1. It’s no secret that bedtime can present itself as the most challenging part of the day for many parents, with the term ‘The Witching Hour’ used by many to describe the trials and tribulations faced on a regular basis. A new survey* by tonies®, an intuitive audio system for children, finds that 70% of kids find it hard to fall asleep at night, with the average child waking up in the night five times a month.

    Commissioned to celebrate National Storytelling Week**, the study uncovers the power that storytelling still has within the dreaded bedtime routine, with the findings backed by Dr Kairen Cullen, a Chartered Educational Psychologist. During the age of smartphones and increased screen time, storytelling is still the preferred method for parents to help their kids wind down at bedtime, with almost half (49%) of those surveyed citing it as their go-to ritual and 71% agreeing it was helpful at this tricky time.

    Dr Kairen Cullen comments: “The predictability of a bedtime routine provides children with a lot of comfort at the end of a busy, sometimes overwhelming day, and including storytelling as part of this engages both child and adult in an immersive, relaxing experience. Even if the adult is not actually reading the story, but is listening with a child to a pre-recorded tale, the shared enjoyment, escapism and entertainment provides a foundation for physical and emotional closeness – a solid basis for starting a good night’s sleep. Stories also teach children moral lessons on how to be a ‘good person’, and social lessons about things like friendship, truthfulness and determination.”

    Although there is evidence that screen time just before bed gets in the way of full relaxation, Dr Cullen notes that other new technologies such as audio books are helping change the way children experience storytelling in a positive way:

    “The range and quantity of story material that new technology facilitates allows children to exercise more choice and autonomy when going through the process of search and selection – a process which parents should be actively involved in to encourage discussion with their child(ren). However, it is also important for parents to set time limits during the storytelling sessions, to reinforce the sense of routine and thereby promote the conservation of precious emotional and mental energy.”

    Designed to inject some modern magic into the traditional activity of storytelling, the tonies® audio system was invented by Patric Faßbender and Marcus Stahl, who spotted a gap in the market for a child-friendly listening tool. Following its incredible success in Germany, the brand launched in the UK and Ireland in Autumn 2018.

    Co-founder Patric comments: “I realised whilst reading to my two young girls that although kids still love listening to audio books and music, like us when we were children, there was no child-friendly device to play them on. CDs get scratched, tablets are expensive, and books are often too heavy for little hands. That’s how I came up with the idea of the Toniebox–offering a playful, simple way of listening to those cherished tales whilst giving the option to curate unique content under parental control. It puts joy and interaction at the forefront of this treasured past time.”