Parents swap books for tech at bedtime, new BookTrust research discovers
Published on: 22 May 2019 Author: Catriona Wightman
A quarter of parents in the UK now rely on technology to give their children a bedtime story, BookTrust research has found.
Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon is supporting Pyjamarama
In a study carried out as part of BookTrust's new Pyjamarama campaign, 26% of British parents revealed that they now use technology such as home assistants, apps, Facetime or voice notes to give their children a story at night.
And 65% of parents revealed that they give children time on phones, tablets, YouTube or television instead of enjoying a bedtime story together.
And while 49% aimed to share a book with their children in the evening, only 28% managed to do so, with a third saying that work or commuting means they don't get home in time and one in five admitting that they simply feel 'too busy'.
Celebrating the joy of bedtime stories - in pyjamas
Now, BookTrust is asking Brits to donate £1 to wear their pyjamas all day on 7 June, with all the funds raised helping to ensure that every child experiences the life-changing benefits of books and reading.
Schools, nurseries, workplaces and individuals can sign up for a free fundraising pack to help them support the campaign on the Pyjamarama website.
Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon, who is supporting Pyjamarama, said that reading a bedtime story is 'one of the best experiences a child and parent can share, and something tech cannot replace'.
'The many evenings I spent immersed in books with my son, Joshua, until he was 11, not only inspired me to become a children's author, but are also some of our best shared memories and gave my son the confidence, curiosity and thirst for learning that has set him up for life,' she said.
'I'm supporting BookTrust's Pyjamarama campaign because I'm hoping that on Friday 7 June, families will ditch the tech, pay £1 to put on their PJs and rediscover the joy of a bedtime story.
'Together we can help to raise money so that BookTrust can reach families everywhere with books and support, to ensure that no child is missing out on the life-changing benefits and joys of reading for pleasure.'
The power of the bedtime story
Meanwhile, BookTrust Director Gemma Malley acknowledged that parents are finding it 'harder and harder' to fit bedtime stories into their busy schedules.
'I know from experience that it can be tempting to replace reading to your child with time on a device, but swapping books for tech can have profound consequences,' she said.
'However, just ten minutes of reading a book together a day makes such a difference – it helps build children's language, resilience, confidence and imagination and is an amazing way for families to bond.
'That's why we want children and adults alike to celebrate Pyjamarama on Friday 7 June and help BookTrust in its tireless work to make sure that even more children get bedtime stories.'