Over the weekend, an Intellectual Takeout reader reached out to me and described how our recent articles on the potential harms of preschool education caused her to reconsider her stance on the issue. Despite the challenges it posed, she realized she couldn’t afford not to pull her little girl out of preschool and bring her home.

Although our reader was completely convinced she had done the right thing, she was still concerned that other duties would cause her to plant her child in front of the TV far more than she should.

Many parents have this problem. They know that an excessive amount of electronics is unhealthy for a child, but they fall back on them as a babysitter because they simply don’t have the time or hands to continually watch and train their child.

Instead of relying on the TV or iPad to babysit your child in times like these, why not try audiobooks? They expose children to good literature, build their vocabulary, and strengthen their imaginations, while simultaneously freeing parents to tackle other responsibilities.

Below is a list of 10 recommendations compiled from reading lists of top schools across the country. If purchasing them is beyond your budget, request them at your local library or look for them online in catalogs such as LibriVox.

  1. The Velveteen Rabbit. Narration by Meryl Streep.

2. Curious George. Narration by Don Wescott.

3. Caps for Sale. Narration by Owen Jordan.

4. Frog and Toad. Narration by Arnold Lobel.

5. Amelia Bedelia. Narration by Suzanne Toren.

6. Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Narration by Nick Sullivan.

7. Little House in the Big Woods. Narration by Cherry Jones.

8. James Herriot’s Treasury for Children. Narration by Jim Dale.

9. Charlotte’s Web. Narration by E.B. White.

10. Betsy-Tacy. Narration by Sutton Foster.

Additionally, the Radio Theatre collection offers amazing audio dramas of classic literature which are bound to be loved by the entire family. Although many are more suitable for ages 8 and up, preschool children have been known to love them – and gain an expanded vocabulary in the process! The Secret Garden and Little Women are a good place to start.