Tonies – Meet The Parenting Hack!


  • Author Elise Sykes
  • Published November 11, 2023
  • Word count 625

We all want to be the very best parents we can be to our budding little people. We want them to be safe, happy, challenged, nurtured and nourished. It can be exhausting. Sometimes you have to have a helping hand. Sometimes you need a shortcut. And that’s ok. It’s an equilibrium; yin and yang to balance your ever-fluctuating parental energy levels. For every meticulously-sourced craft project, there’s a no-effort Bluey episode to stick on (and stifle a sob to- those charmingly sentimental blue canines get me every time)! For every homemade showstopper/ jaw dropper birthday cake, there’s Colin, the trusty chocolate-coated caterpillar cake friend for the time when the accelerator pedal just isn’t responding. The simmering iron-rich stew you spent hours dicing and slicing for will nourish their growing bodies gratifyingly and other days, you’ll find yourself diving in to the tantalising selection of frozen foods stashed in your freezer- the freezer tapas! And they’ll be ok. Their tummies will be still be full.

Occasional shortcuts are fine. Shed the guilt and embrace them. Well, it turns out I’ve found the freezer tapas of the bedtime routine; meet the wondrous Tonie.

If you haven’t heard of the Tonie, it’s a cube-shaped speaker with a pleasingly squishy feel and a magnetic top to pop on a 3D character of your little one’s choice. And is there ever choice….everything from the Disney classics, modern cartoon favourites to the agelessly whimsical Faraway Tree read by Kate Winslet. A quick Google of the characters available on the Maison White website will show you just how many there are to collect. The speaker bursts to life when the figure is placed on the top and children love it. You can even record your own stories for those times you have to be apart.

It’s designed to be tactile and easy to operate. A tap on either side of the cube skips a chapter or song and the distinctive volume ‘ears’ on the top allow your little one to have control and let’s be honest, they all like a bit of that. It’s small enough to take on long road trips or listen to a story while drawing to fuel inspiration.

If you want to cut back on screen time but also just need one hot minute to finish that email or scoff the remainder of that hidden Dairy Milk in the cupboard, the Tonie is there for you. There’s no doubt it helps with listening skills and encourages imagination more than passive eyes on a screen and bedtime is when it really shines!

Now obviously, there’s never going to be a complete substitute for the that perfect twilight time when your share a story with your little ones, when you’re completely present and forget to the to-do list and the washing up and just read together. There just isn’t anything better than escaping into a long-forgotten story with your little people and revisiting those magical places and characters that entranced you as a youngster too. Stepping into and exploring the same imaginative landscape hand in hand with your child is as blooming close to the meaning of being here at all as I think you can get.


When you’re having the kind of night when the clock mocks you or you’re solo parenting with multiple children or if like my story-hungry youngest, there just isn’t enough Julia Donaldson material in the world to satisfy her ravenous bedtime appetite for stories, the Tonie offers a non-screen wholesome close second best. It won’t replace your treasured books, but it will accompany them. Your bookshelf needs one, treat your-shelf! are a key supplier of Tonies - which include Toniebox and Tonie Characters. Maison White are also a recommended retailer of many ranges of childrens toys such as Jellycat, Squishmallow, Le Toy Van, Vilac & Wheelybug amongst many more!

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