Had you told me two years ago that I would be putting my kids to bed each night with an iPad, I would have laughed at you like a crazy person. Who uses technology to lull their children into gentle slumber?
I do, apparently.
You see, bedtime around these parts has become a bit of a battle with the strong-willed toddler and her fits of rage that only seem to come out when it’s time to go to sleep. I’ve always kept a routine, and when that failed me, I added in special books, at night there were baths, and then suddenly none of it worked. What I was left with was an overtired 3-foot-tall monster running through the hallways screaming “I DON’T WANT TO GO TO BED; I WANT TO EAT YOGURT.”
One night while in the app store perusing all the latest and greatest (which basically means I was wishing and hoping for the latest Candy Crush update), I came across a well-reviewed app called ‘Nighty Night.’ Reviewers swore it was the best interactive storybook app to get children into sleepytime mode, I decided to give it a try. The next day at naptime, during the usual hallway screaming episode, I told Vivi I had a new story on the iPad — she stopped dead in her tracks. “iPad? Naptime? TOGETHER?” After our usual storybooks she was allowed one round of ‘Nighty Night.’
It totally worked.
It worked again at bedtime.
Then again at naptime.
Then AGAIN AT BEDTIME.
Addie now insists on joining us for ‘Nighty Night’ time.
When I say ‘it worked,’ I mean it worked to get her into her bedroom and into my lap without a fight. Once I can get her there, it’s easy to convince her sleep is the best. She’s not allowed to play it during the day, and she’s only allowed to play through it once after all our stories are read and we’re together in the rocking chair. Bribery? Perhaps. But the app is ridiculously adorable, I may look forward to it just as much as Vivi. (I wouldn’t even really call it playing so much as experiencing.)
It starts out on a little sleepy town, with a very soothing voice narrating how everyone is ready for bed except for the animals, there’s a farmhouse with lights on and as Vivi touches each window she can put each animal to bed by turning out the light. (But not before poking each animal and making them do adorable things.) The art is marvelous, the music and narration by Scottish actor Alistair Findlay is not one tiny bit obnoxious (okay, so the singing snowman in the Christmas version is a little out of place, but Vivi loves it.) The app comes with a seven animals that need to be put to bed, and for $1.98 you can add six more animals (you’d better believe we have all the animals)!
It’s soothing and quiet, and a lovely way to end our evening together. I’m not normally one who would suggest children’s apps because every kid is so different, but this one is different and well worth the $2.99 for the iPad version. (You can get the basic version for free on Amazon and Android and $1.99 for iPhone.)
Have you ever seen this app in action? I’m a huge fan.
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.