How often do you sit down with your children and tell them stories? Is your answer no, or rarely? Do you claim your busy lifestyle or stressful job as an excuse for not enjoying this simple pleasure with your child? Do you let them fall asleep watching a TV show or playing with an electronic gadget? If so, you are missing out on a crucial aspect of their growing up – the amazing benefits of storytelling that influences their thought-processes and development in more ways than you know. Please take a moment to think about what a crucial loss this is in the growth and development of your child, and about what you are missing out on in your bonding with them.
Storytelling has been such an important part of human history. It is perhaps one of the first forms of art, communication, education and bonding that mankind indulged in. That is why we still enjoy listening to stories – at least as children. And from this return to our atavistic roots, we still have much to gain and transfer to our children. So we come back to the question – Why should you tell stories to your children?
The stories the child hears shape their world. As they listen to stories, something very important is triggered – their imagination. They learn to go beyond their environment, their walls and soar into faraway lands and visit the minds of extraordinary people. They see the world through new eyes and the experience enriches them.
Benefits of Storytelling
Children learn problem-solving skills as they follow tales of adventure and brave deeds. As the listen to stories, their curiosity is piqued as to what comes next or how something can be solved. This encourages them to ponder upon solutions on their own and come up with answers. In the long run, this is an essential life skill to have.
Stories are exercises in character building. The stories we narrate to children are populated by characters who are ideal, inspiring role models, thus promoting goodness. Besides the positive heroes, there are other characters too and children who regularly listen to stories find it easier to understand people in real life and exhibit more empathy because of their acquaintance with characters who behave in different ways. Stories are also a great way to introduce children to their roots and culture, and build a strong sense of identity and belonging.
Make Storytelling Fun
And while you are telling stories to your children, encourage them to ask questions, to explore in depth the characters, their actions, and why they behave in a certain way. Play a small memory game with them by asking if they remember instances from a certain story or the names of characters. And ask them for alternate endings. What would they do in a certain situation? If you do not know stories per se, tell them stories about yourself – your childhood, your parents and family, what you did growing up. Perhaps these might interest your child more than a regular story. And there are valuable lessons to be learnt there too.
Our Storytelling Sessions
So start your story time with your young child today. Put away your gadgets, draw your child near and start off with, “Once upon a time….”