PARENT PICKLES: Children and ebooks Part 2

IN our previous column we took a look at ebooks and the appropriate use of them with children.

Topics such as the amount of use of ebooks, how to balance it with print books and what ebooks to choose were covered.

In this column we continue the ebook journey by looking at how to use them and how to incorporate them into your child’s life.

How to read ebooks with children

As covered last week, you want to pick ebooks by the same standards you set for print books and you want them to be educational and engaging.

Once you have purchased the ebook, it is then a question of how you get your child to read it. The most beneficial way is to read the ebook with them.

When reading together, try to sit close to your child, swipe the pages of the book together and talk about the story with them by asking your child open-ended questions about the story.

It’s advisable to turn off the narration and read the text to your child the first time through.

It’s also important to ensure the focus is on the story or information rather than on the device. That means ensuring any interactive elements are not the focus but rather talk about how those elements link to the story.

Another good idea is to help your child learn to use the ebook by themselves by teaching them how to swipe, scroll and use the interactive features.

You can also encourage your child to use the read-aloud option to enjoy ebooks alone and show them how they can do things like clicking on words to hear their meanings.

Know when they are distracted and know when enough is enough

Just the same as with print books, it’s important to ensure your child is reading in an environment where they won’t be distracted by the TV or something else that is happening around them.

On top of this, sometimes the interactive elements of the ebook can also distract from the story. If you feel this is happening, then switch off animations and games to enable them to focus on the story and information.

Also make sure you watch for signs your child is getting distracted or losing interest. It might be time to put the ebook away or try a different kind of book.

Ebooks and bedtime

One common question parents have about ebooks is whether they should be used at bedtime or are they for daytime only?

It’s still advisable to choose print books close to bedtime whenever possible as there are concerns about screen time right before bed.

If you do use ebooks close to bedtime, then it’s best to avoid noisy and exciting ebooks that may overstimulate your child and to use a device that lets you minimise blue light (which is a type of light from screens that tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime).

Some devices have a ‘night shift’ or ‘night light’ setting that changes the light the device emits. You can also download blue light filters.

Support available

If you need extra support on any child health matter, you can or call your local WBHHS child health team on:

  • Gayndah – 4161 3571
  • Mundubbera – 4161 3571
  • Monto – 4166 9300
  • Biggenden – 4127 6400
  • Eidsvold – 4165 7100

Even if you just want to have a chat and a bit of reassurance, the WBHHS child health team is here to help!


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