I'm very aware of how much screen time I expose my son to. We don’t watch any children’s programming or much television at all during the day. We have mostly books and “imagination toys,” rather than things that require batteries. We love to go for walks and to have conversations about our surroundings.
That said, there is time and a place for some of the modern conveniences we have at our fingertips. One day, struggling to put my son to sleep during a rough teething period, I decided to cuddle him and listen to a little music. I pulled up YouTube on my smart phone, and to my surprise, there are literally hundreds of animated shorts and dedicated playlists for soothing your little one. Some are quite dynamic, with graphics better suited to a desktop screensaver. Others are repetitive and obnoxious, with singing child choruses or loud animal accompaniment. Since you want to lull your little one, but not torture yourself, here are two of my favourite night time videos:
This sweet video features an adorable sleeping newborn. At first you think you’re looking at a still image, until the baby’s sleeping face breaks into a little smile! Babies love other babies and my son smiled back, amazed at what he was watching. The music is soft and sweet – perfect for a lullaby. It does feel a little repetitive, but not bothersome. It is a just a light backdrop for a nice snuggle.
This video also features simple, music-box style lullabies with a soothing graphic. The dark colours and night sky theme are relaxing as you seem to glide above the clouds towards the moon. The image is interesting enough to zone into without demanding anything in terms of focus. Even without the visual, you could use the music to set the tone for a good night read.
As with any media for kids, it’s best to view it with your child. This not only ensures the quality of the material in terms of content, but also allows you to mention the shapes and colours you see, or sounds you hear, improving the educational value. It’s also important to involve your child’s other senses. Try using classical music or nature sounds for variety. Soft music and calm images are key. You can cue sleep with scent and touch by massaging your baby’s skin with a mild lotion before or during the lullaby.