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'A bit wonderful': Grandma's awesome business

Aussie nanna Helen Higgins makes a living by telling children stories and playing with them virtually. Images: Supplied

A bedtime story is a childhood staple: the perfect way to drift off to sleep, and for parents and caregivers, a great way to stimulate children’s imagination and curiosity. 

Now, for central coast nanna Helen Higgins, children’s stories are also the way she earns an income. 

Higgins got the idea for Grandma’s House Online last year, long before the coronavirus pandemic made its services incredibly useful. Through the service, she reads books online to children who may be “missing out on that grandparent experience”. 

"I have set this business up to replace the income that I previously earned going out to work in my former job,” she told Yahoo Finance. 

“I have always loved children and helping educate them, since the days of me working as a family daycare mother over 30 years ago. I am very grateful to be able to grow Grandma's House Online to now provide a full-time income for my husband and I."

Helen Higgins with her grandchildren. Image: Supplied

While she didn’t launch her service due to Covid-19, “The coincidence, though, is amazing – and a bit wonderful,” she said.

“They [children] have to protect them [grandparents] by staying away. I’m giving children the same good wholesome experiences with some essential learning woven in.”

With over 20 illustrated books, Higgins has been described as a “virtual babysitter” and “lifesaver” to clients working from home.

Children can see the pages of the books as she reads them, and Higgins will also play doll’s house games, make cakes and fruit salads and create craft projects like pom poms, caterpillars and paper flowers. She charges $5.95 a month for unlimited access to the storytelling experience. 

She said the stories are chosen to widen children’s understanding and boost their imagination. 

Helen Higgins' chocolate cake. Image: Supplied

“Every child’s potential is unlimited really; it’s only limited by their thinking and the more well-read you are, the greater your thinking,” she said. 

“Two quotes from Albert Einstein remind me that what I do matters,” she added. 

“One is, ‘If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.’ The other is, ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress’.”

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