Today it is my pleasure to offer an interview with fellow blogger Sarah Wehkamp. Sarah and her husband Chris are passionate about helping families find balance and connection. I’m excited to announce that Sarah and Chris are launching their first product Imagining aloud.
What inspired you to create Imagining Aloud?
Quality family time has always been a priority for us. It was hard sometimes to relax with our kiddos when we were tired or didn’t have any ideas of what to do.
Neither of us like the thought of putting our kids in front of a glowing screen. We knew there had to be an easier, better alternative. One of the ways we enjoy family time, and work to encourage our kids’ imaginations, is to read out loud to them every day.
It’s fun and we enjoy it, but there’s one small problem. Reading isn’t passive on the part of the parent. If ever Chris or I was tired or sick, we didn’t have an easy, quality way to enjoy that family time we craved.
That’s when Chris would often help out by making up stories on the spot. The boys loved these stories because the characters were always different and the sound effects were a huge hit!
With a live performing daddy though, we were still dependent on one or both of us having energy or ideas. Because we only have so many hours in a day, there was no way to multiply story time to create more family time.
That’s when it occurred to us to start recording the stories. That way, we could all listen to more stories, have more time together and enjoy stress-free family time. This discovery led us to create Imagining Aloud, our very own series of original children’s audio stories.
What is imagining Aloud about?
Imagining Aloud is about
- having an activity to do together without use of a glowing screen.
- great conversation starters for tricky subjects.
- snuggling and relaxing together at the end of a long day.
- giving your children the tools they need to enrich and expand their imaginations.
- It’s also a way to take long car rides while building imaginations.
Even the busiest parent will have a solution to ensure that their child’s creativity blossoms and imagination blooms as they also enjoy time together as a family.
How do you envision Parents using this product?
- We imagine parents getting their kids out of the bathtub, getting their jammies on and teeth brushed, and then everyone crawling into the same bed all snuggled ready to listen to stories.
- We imagine heading across town and instead of putting on a DVD or racking your brain for a new car game to play, you instead put on a story from Imagining Aloud and let your children’s imaginations wander.
- We hope that parents will use these stories as conversation starters or jumping off points to talk about issues such as loving ones self, persistence, making friends, or to talk about simple human values such as love and kindness.
Why not just watch a video with my children?
It’s well-known by now the adverse effects that too much time spent in front of screens have on young children. Quality family time spent staring at screens often prevents conversation, sharing, learning, teaching and social interaction. Without screens, families can remain present with each other during quality family time. All will be entertained and meaningful familial interaction is promoted, not inhibited.
How do you think this product will help build family connections?
Picture yourself returning home after a busy day at work. After dinner has been cooked and eaten and the dishes are done, now is your short window of opportunity to spend quality time with your family before bedtime. That’s when you remember that the latest episode of Imagining Aloud has arrived today. You all snuggle up together on the couch and listen to the latest episode.
Your child is engrossed in the transformative power of storytelling and words while enjoying a story containing warmth, humor, universal human values and memorable characters. When the story ends the talking begins. Your child tells you his favorite character from the story and you spend time discussing the lesson that character learned.
The quality time you have spent listening, laughing and talking with your family over an Imagining Aloud audio story, you reflect, has been one of the best parts of your day.
What can we expect to get if we sign up for Imagining Aloud?
After subscribing to Imagining Aloud you will receive two stories on your account page every Friday morning. These stories are saved in a personal library for use whenever you want them for listening or downloading.
We currently have two story series.
Merrygrove Forest has character voices, sound effects and is more for daytime fun and laughter. Some values and lessons you can look forward to include:
- Making friends and being kind to your neighbors
- The importance of telling the truth
- Valuing the unique perspectives of others
- Learning to take on tasks one at a time
Gregory Goat has one very slow, calming voice and is meant for winding down at night or before nap time. Some values you can look forward to with Gregory include:
- Travel is fun and so is learning
- Take life slowly
- Seek out beauty and joy
- Keep an open-mind
These stories are saved in your own personal library for use whenever you want them. You can listen from your phone, your computer, your tablet, or you can burn them to a CD for listening in the car.
Where can we get more information?
You can find more information on our website
For those interested in receiving free audio stories and getting the latest updates and info about Imagining Aloud, sign-up to our newsletter in the box on the homepage in the sidebar to the right. Newsletter subscribers will also be the first to find out details about new products and have access to all our parenting and family resources.
Sarah and Chris are the co-founders of Parents Who, a website where they share resources, tips and tools to help parents and families. Imagining Aloud is their first product. They live with their identical twin boys and puppy Yoshi in Plano, TX. They can be also on Twitter Sarah and Chris.