Sunday, July 6, 2014

4 Great Parenting Audio Books: Finding Time to Read When You Are Busy

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library
- Jorge Luis Borges

Reading has always been one of the most pleasurable activities in my life.  However, since Elijah was born (4 ½ years ago), I haven't had too much time to read books.  Over the last few years, I have started many books and only able to a finish a few (I can count them with one hand!).

Although it is true that some of these books were not exactly what I expected, the reality is that I was simply unable to find enough time, or was too tired to read most of them. How is that possible?

I usually get up at 5:30 am to workout, take a quick shower and prepare school lunches.  As a university professor, I often find myself working on lectures, labs and other related documents past 11:00 pm.  So, I generally only sleep 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours per day.  Well, if you try to read a book when you are supposed to be asleep, you can only read a few pages (in my case 2-4 pages) per night even though you have the best of intentions.  

The Solution: Audio books
Few months ago, one of my friends suggested to listening audio books.  I was initially a little bit reluctant to this idea because I was not really certain whether listening to audio books would give me the same experience or pleasure than reading a book.  To be honest, I was not even certain whether or not I would enjoy the whole of experience of having someone “reading” a book to me! I also thought about the actual content of the book; would I able to get the same information/details by listening to an audio book instead of reading the book? How much detailed information would be lost?

There is a very interesting article published in Forbes Magazine regarding the similarity and differences between reading and listening to books that I highly recommend if you are interested on this topic. But, in my case, I decided that I have to try the “audio book experience”. 

So far, I have found that listening to audio books is not such a bad idea, and may actually be an excellent solution for busy people like me who only have limited time to read. Furthermore, I have also discovered that getting access to audio books is much easier that I thought.  Most public libraries have a large number of audio books in their databases that you can download for free without even leaving your house!  You can also download free audio books from a good number of websites.  I have to say that downloading books without leaving the house is a fantastic solution for busy people. Now, if you can afford the purchase of audio books, then, I suggest that you obtain an Audible account, the audio books company from Amazon.  They have a great variety of audio books in several languages.

Since I started to listen to audio books, I have completed several books, including various non-fiction ones.  I have to say that it is true that listening to a book may be a different experience than reading.  I find that this is certainly true if you are listening to the audio book while trying to do something else.  Honestly, this is not necessarily the “fault” of the audio book, but more a simple reflection of the fact that you are actually multitasking.

If you are fine with the idea of losing some specific details (remember that you can always rewind an audio book) regarding the content of a book, I sincerely think that audio books are an excellent solution for busy people.  You can listen to them when driving, cooking, exercising, watching your kids playing a sport, etc.  Depending upon your activities, it is possible to finish an audio book in a few days or a couple of weeks.  For instance, I finish listening to the “Happiness Project” (a book that I really wanted to read for the last few years) in just a week.   So, I highly recommend you try audio books, especially if you are trying to read non-fiction books.

Here 4 excellent parenting audio books that I am listening, or have listened during the last few weeks.  They are great books that are highly ranked in various parenting websites. None of them is very long and can be easily completed in about 1-2 weeks depending upon your schedule.


(Authors and Narrators: Dave Ramsey & Rachel Cruze)  Time: 7 h and 19 min)  I haven’t read this book yet, but it’s is in my list to read for this summer.  It’s supposed to be an excellent resource to teach kids about money.  Dave Ramsey’sother books (e.g., The Total Money Makeover) teach adults how to get out of debt, how to make sacrifices in order to save money for emergencies and for future needs, and how to develop a healthy attitude about money. “Smart Money, Smart Kids...” is written as a joint effort with Ramsey’s daughter, Rachel Cruze.  In this book, Ramsey offers the same principles for children and teens—before they get to the point of being buried in debt and looking for a way out.


How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (Authors: Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish; Narrator: Susan Bennett) Time: 8 h and 31 min) This is probably the number #1 parenting book based on both popularity and rankings.  It is a great book filled with strategies and tools that make sense and can be readily applied and work for children of all ages.  Personally, I also find that unlike other parenting books, the techniques discussed in this book are not based on any specific belief system so they can be readily molded to work in anyone's situation.  It’s an extremely useful book not only for parents, but also for teachers and really for anyone. 


Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom ofFrench Parenting (Author: Pamela Druckerman; Narrator: Abby Craden) Time: 9 h and 7 min)  I first heard about this book on the CBC radio show, The Current.  It was a very interesting interview in which the author, Pamela Druckerman, was describing her experience raising her kids in France.  I was intrigued by all that the author had to say about the differences in parenting style between Americans (Anglos and North American in general) and French people.   In her book, Druckerman mentions that it didn't take long for her to notice how differently pregnancy, child birth and child-rearing are on the other side of the Atlantic.

An interesting message that the author seems to present in her book is that parents were more at ease and children better behaved in France.  For instance, Druckerman made an interesting comparison between Anglo and French mothers at the playground.  Anglo mothers run around playing with their kids while shoving snacks in their kids’ mouths while French mothers sit on the sidelines and talk with other moms.  This is actually a fun book to read even though you agree or not with some of the arguments presented by the author.  The cultural differences in terms of parenting between “Anglo” and “French” presented in the book did force me to think about my own way of parenting my children.  So, I found the book entertaining, and often very accurate with respect to parenting issues and styles. 



The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture YourChild's Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help YourFamily Thrive (Authors & Narrators: Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson) Time = 6 h and 16 min)  My husband and I started to listen to this book during a short family trip.  Instead of trying to listening to music, we decided to listen to this book because we both wanted to know more about child brain development.  It was a great reading for our trip and by the end of the trip, we had practically finished the whole book!

What can we say about the content?  The fundamental idea of the book is that the more we know about how the human brain operates, the more we can do to shape and direct it in difficult times.  So, in this book, the authors propose “12 whole-brain strategies” or easily applicable strategies that will help elicit a child's cooperation while simultaneously helping to build his/her "emotional intelligence."  It’s an excellent parenting resource; I highly recommend this book.
Post a Comment