Fennec’s Guide to Cutting Down Screen Time (Hint – Birde is the Word)

Embracing the good and avoiding the bad in this digital age can be difficult to navigate when raising kids. It is becoming increasingly easier (and tempting) to just hand kids tablets or turning on the tv, and it has been the go-to for parents particularly over the recent pandemic and the whole ‘working from home’ juggling act. You find yourself asking, ‘how much is too much’ and ‘how can I reduce this screen time but still get things done?’.

Parents are now turning to audiobooks and portable speakers. In 2019, statistics from Pinterest showed that ‘audio storytellers’ are up a whopping 126%. Mention it out loud and your social media accounts will start showing you hundreds of suggestions of narrated audiobooks for kids. These range from short to long, road trips to bedtimes, alongside a host of educational audiobooks with themes like animals, sharing or kindness.

It’s one of the most common feeding mistakes parents make too, or is it? Using tv or tablets at mealtimes to get your child to eat their meal is an easy trap to fall into. They’re eating, right? If you have a picky eater, or even a slow eater, chances are you let them watch their favourite tv show just to get them to eat what is on the plate. We recently came across parents that are making the switch from screens to audiobooks at mealtimes, to help reduce screen time and break the bad habits of eating in front of the tv.

Audiobooks and speakers offer a good compromise for screen time, as they still offer a distraction mechanism for little ones. Kids can listen to a story while you prepare dinner, or even while they eat, it’s far more engaging than simply staring at a screen mindlessly eating.

Some of the benefits of audiobooks, even seen in kids from as young as 2, is they’re learning to listen attentively, rather than simply hearing something, according to education expert Simone Tonkin. “Listening is different from hearing in the sense that hearing involves perceiving sound by the ear, while listening to something like a story via an audiobook involves more understanding. It’s something you choose to do and respond to.”

Audiobooks can also help at bedtime. A time of day which many parents dread. The start of bedtime can be great, the snuggles, the stories, until that is, you just want to go and finally put your feet up or have a few minutes to yourself before you go to bed and they won’t let you leave – ‘just one more story’. Enter audiobooks! Leaving kids to drift off into their imagination (as long as the story doesn’t involve monsters under the bed) and be soothed to sleep, means bedtimes will no longer be a rollercoaster.

Fennec Recommends….


What is Birde you ask? Well, when the team at Fennec came across this incredible business, so many problems suddenly had the perfect solution. The educational smart speaker that limits screen time and allows children to play their own music, audiobooks and video in a completely safe way. Kid-tested, tough, waterproof and cordless. Specifically designed for children! Simply tap the Birde Player with a Birde Seed and the magic begins.

The incredible team at Birde have worked with some of the world’s leading content providers to share educational music, audiobook and video content for its platform.

It is super easy to use! From the very first prototype, Birde has been designed with young kids in mind and have found that kids as young as 1 intuitively know how to tap the Birde Player with a Birde Seed to play music. The child-friendly speaker and media-player allows children to choose what they want to listen to and can play it safely without needing to touch a screen or any confusing controls. The content comes in the form of hexagon-shaped tokens they call ‘Birde Seeds’. Content varies from short picture books to novel length from the world’s leading publishers.

No need to worry about cracked or broken screens or remotes, Birde Player and Seeds are waterproof, washable, and DROP PROOF in little hands!

Something that is easy to forget (but not by the team at Birde), was the number of ads and access to the internet. Unlike most streaming devices, there is no way children can find anything inappropriate or see advertising. Parents and caregivers choose the content they think is appropriate for them.

They have some really cool resources on how Birde can help in your routines and kids’ education.

On top of this, they also offer the hard copy books to go alongside the audiobooks. According to researchers, this is the best way for children to listen to audiobooks with a copy of the book in-hand. “Research shows that when good reading is modelled to a child, who can follow along on the page, they read better than when they simply listen to themselves reading. So, if a child can recognise the words on the page as they listen to the story, that’s first prize!” added Simone Tonkin.

The huge range of music and stories available through Birde gives kids endless choices. See the full range of Birde Seeds here.

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