Every night at our house, bedtime means storytime with Dad. A time when our daughters get to share an experience that’s just between them, get to share storylines and characters with Dad, and I get a few minutes to myself.
But when my husband deploys, everything changes. And getting recordings of stories from Dad halfway around the world is technically tricky. Listening to him read “The Wind in the Willows” involved downloading each file from Drive and casting it to a Nest Mini. We knew there had to be a better way.
We even asked folks on message boards for help, which is how my daughters and I ended up traveling to Portland to meet with engineers and designers from Instrument and Google Nest. We helped them design something called My Storytime—a new Google Assistant Action that makes it easier for pre-recorded stories to be played back home for loved ones.
Now, no matter where you are, you can visit MyStorytime.com to create a private account for your family and begin building your library of recorded stories. And once shared with the parent back home, all they have to say is “Hey Google, talk to My Storytime” to hear your personal stories.
My daughters and I shared our own experiences and ideas in hopes that it would be useful to the more than 100,000 military parents who deploy every year—and the nearly 250,000 children who are back home. According to one organization, United Through Reading, that’s 40 million bedtime stories missed each year by military children. But storytime isn’t only important to military families. Grandparents who live states away, nurses and police officers who work the night shift, and anyone who travels for work can relate to the struggle of trying to make it home in time to read for bedtime. Because every bedtime story is, at its heart, a love story.
Nothing can replace Daddy being home, but hopefully My Storytime will help make it just a little bit easier to get through the next deployment and that it brings some comfort to other families as well.