I am loathe to admit it, but I never read a bedtime story to my children. Before I became a mother I had visions of myself sitting on the edge of a child’s bed in a cosy room, reading Postman Pat to a sleepy child, his or her head resting on plumped-up pillows.

It never happened. I provided the cosy bedroom for my two daughters, but never the night-time read. I read to them during the day, but by the time they got to bed I was so tired I couldn’t head downstairs fast enough.

I am not alone. A survey in 2017 found that almost two-thirds of parents don’t read bedtime stories mainly because they don’t have time.

For that very reason two primary school teachers in Essex have taken on the role of live streaming a bedtime story to youngsters who are snuggled up in bed at home, watching on a tablet or smartphone.

On alternate Thursdays, a teacher dressed in pyjamas reads a bedtime favourite to whoever wants to tune in. The first reading, of Ouch In My Pouch by Jeanna Willis, was watched by 72 per cent of the school’s pupils and has been viewed 4,000 times.

While there is no substitute for the real pages of a book, hats off to them.

Raising young children is exhausting. Parents are on duty 24-7, and on high alert from the moment they get up - which is always early - to the moment they go to bed.

I remember it well. On the days when we were both working we would be rushing to and from nursery or school. On my days off their young friends would come round, helping to leave a trail of mayhem. Bath time was a long drawn out affair, and by the time it was over all we wanted was to put them to bed and flop.

When you channel your energies into children all day, why prolong it with a book at bedtime? It’s not as if reading a bedtime story sends children to sleep. If anything it keeps them awake - occasionally my husband would read to our children downstairs on the sofa before bed. It would turn into a battle of wills as they demanded ‘just one more’ story.

The odd times that I managed to do the same I made bad reading choices and ended up labouring through fairy stories not far short of War And Peace. And they still weren’t sleepy afterwards - maybe a genuine Tolstoy would have done the trick.

Reading a book may, for some, be the solution to getting children to drop off, but it is not an easy option. Children frequently stop you to point things out, to joke and comment. As the reader you feel the need to explain things, to pause and spell out words, to embellish the story with your own anecdotes. While it can be rewarding, it’s time consuming and the last thing you want to do after a hard day.

It’s not as if our children were deprived at bedtime. As toddlers they had ceiling mobiles that rotated to music, they had night lights beaming animals onto the walls and ceilings.

As they grew older we played them audio-cassettes as they nodded off. They particularly loved The Guzunder Gang, a mixture of narrative and song, about a quirky group of friends and their adventures.

The teachers’ initiative - which is not intended as a replacement for books - has prompted parents at the school to sit down together and read more bedtime stories. That’s great, although it would be interesting to know for how long they keep that up.