This post is in partnership with Spotify Kids but all opinions are my own.
I’ve been in charge of bedtime stories for the kids for the past ten years. Mike cooks dinner and I put the kids to bed. That’s how we split our evening parenting duties. Usually this means, I read the kids a book, either a picture book or a chapter book, and then I lie with them in bed. In our apartment, I take turns lying with Harlow in the bottom bunk or lying with Mazzy in the top bunk. At the house, even though the kids have their own beds, they choose to sleep in one big King size bed in the attic. I usually lie between them. Often, I will be the first one to fall asleep.
Unfortunately, regardless of how sleepy I am, my bedtime story duties do not end when I finish the book. Mazzy and Harlow usually want me to make up a story as we all lie there in the dark. Telling a story does not stop me from drifting off to sleep though. Usually I will wake up to fits of giggles from the girls because I have gone off on some sort of sleep talking story tangent. Mazzy and Harlow love when this happens. They wait for it. And then, instead of waking me up or letting me drift off completely, they start peppering me with questions to keep me talking nonsensically.
Once I woke up and realized I was talking about a bunch of red peppers who sang in a band. Another time I was talking about going kiting with a pet rabbit. More often I will wake up saying something that makes no sense whatsoever. I’ll grapple with where I am in the story, slowly realize I have no idea what I am talking about or how long I was in lalaland, and then burst out laughing too.
To keep me on track, I started searching for kid-friendly bedtime stories to read from my phone, but there aren’t a lot of good options. We tried a few audio books but that can get pricey. Then I found a few bedtime stories online, but we listened to the same stories so many times that my kids got sick of them.
Recently though, Spotify reached out to see if we would be interested in experiencing their Spotify Kids app, a new ad-free app for the next generation of listeners, designed for kids and families. We are longtime Spotify users, so I was curious to see what the kids offering was like. I was able to download and activate the Spotify Kids app through our Spotify Premium Family plan and made two users in the “audio for older kids” category. (There is another option for younger listeners, intended for ages 6 and under.) Harlow and Mazzy scrolled through the graphics and selected their user identities— a green little character with hoop earrings for Harlow and a blue character with pink sunglasses for Mazzy.
Then we looked through the pre-created playlists, which were separated both by themes and artists. Top Hits, Halloween, Girl Power, Let’s Go Crazy, as well as, Katy Perry, Marshmello, and One Direction. I thought I would just find kid-appropriate music, but after navigating to the Explore page, I found more options separated by categories like Play, Learn, Stories and yes— Bedtime!
Under Bedtime, they had sub-categories like Pop Lullabies, Chill Out, Calm Kids and White Noise. They also had a playlist for Stories. Not just any random stories, but actual stories that we all know and love, like Rapunzel, Beatrix Potter, Alice in Wonderland and The Secret Garden. Over the past week, we’ve started listening to Little Women, which is told chapter by chapter. The best part is you don’t have to buy these by book; they are all included within your Spotify plan.
After the story or the chapter is over, if the kids are still awake, I have started putting on the Chill Out playlist (which is kind of like the new age music you hear while getting a massage at a spa) or the Sweet Dreams mix (which is a lot of mellow piano music). I love that they are all preselected mixes curated by Spotify Kids editors. Although I have to say, having low key piano music fill the room, makes it that much easier for me to fall asleep too!
Sweet Dreams, all. If you need me, I’ll be dozing to Goodnight Guitar in Mazzy and Harlow’s room.