What are the benefits of storytelling for kids?
Is it just a past-time or does it help your child’s development in any way?
I am sure most us would have read or narrated at least one story to our kids. If you still do, great! But if you have stopped, read on to know how storytelling can benefit your child.
Story telling is an art that has been around since ages to deliver life lessons to kids.
Ever wondered why?
Why do most of us tell tales to our kids? What impact does it have on them?
I am one of those parents who likes to read out books and of course make up stories when I am out of ideas. My little one absolutely loves her ‘story time’. Our story time is always around bed time. Apart from entertaining her with stories, I also use this time to bond with her.
Reading stories vs online stories
Before I start telling about the advantages of storytelling, let me answer a question.
The question that I would like to answer is – “Why do/should we even tell tales to our little ones in this digital age?”
We have a plethora of stories available at the click of our finger. You have YouTube Channels where you can get a video rendition of your favourite stories. Animated and full of action, just the way kids like it.
Then why do you really have to narrate stories to your kids?
Here is the answer to that question.
With narration, you are giving them a canvas on which they can paint their own ideas, and by giving them access to digital media, you are presenting to them an already painted canvas. Got the difference? If you didn’t let me give you another example – imagine reading a book and watching a movie that is the adaption of the same book. See what I meant?
Read on for the advantages of storytelling.
10 Benefits of storytelling for kids:
I told you why reading a story is any day better than watching an animated version.
Now let us go in detail into the benefits of storytelling for kids and how it would help them.
Most story telling sessions with my little one are interactive. She has her share of doubts and questions and also twists the story at times to suit her imagination.
Encourage them to ask questions, reiterate the words, emphasize the moral of the story.
You will soon find them requesting for their favourite story. For example, the all-time favourite Aesop’s fable ‘The golden goose’ has become one of my little one’s favourite stories. She insists on this story every time we have a story telling session.
Story telling exercise helps their imagination to grow by leaps and bounds. What you say, they imagine it. For example, I used to tell the jungle book story to my little one. And once when were out on a jungle expedition, she asked, “Mamma, is this where Mowgli stays?” So this was the jungle that she had probably imagined.
And like I mentioned earlier, this is where it differs from the digital media. You are giving them the freedom to imagine what they want to be the stage for the story. You are helping them become creative. Story telling hence has a very big role in raising a creative child.
#3. Vocabulary and pronunciation
Story time is a good time to introduce new words to your child. They pick up words faster when you use them in sentences and learn their meaning as well. So during your story sessions, make use of new words. They will also get the pronunciation right hearing you.
#4. Inculcating morals
Moral stories play an integral part of growing up. What you learn as a kid stays with you forever. So telling kids moral stories will naturally inculcate the right values in them. Keep it simple for them to comprehend. I feel proud when I hear my daughter tell her friends ‘SHARE your things’ during her play time. She has picked it up from one of the tales that I tell her.
#5. Raising their emotional quotient
When the kids are involved in listening to stories, they unknowingly become a part of it and relate to the characters emotionally. Like how novels and movies make you cry and laugh, stories can also play a similar role. So use this medium to increase their emotional quotient.
#6. Boosts memory
Stories are an excellent way to boost memory. Children remember what they hear the most. So time and again if you are narrating a story to them, they are definitely bound to remember what was narrated.
There will be instances when they will ask you to repeat a certain story by telling you names of the characters or places. Like for instance, my little one wants me to always narrate ‘the jungle story’ at the end.
AT first they may not remember it straight away, they would have doubts about characters or events. Be patient and repeat it. Slowly they would know how to listen and remember key pieces of information.
#7. Improved communication
By introducing them to vocabulary and pronunciation, you are helping them boost their communication skills. They will pick up the tone, the clarity in your speech, the expressions and the words from the stories that are narrated. This will also help in sentence formation.
#8. Listening skills
How often do we as parents complain that the kids just don’t listen? And how often have you noticed that when you read out a book or tell them a story, the kids are attentive and listening carefully?
It’s true for most cases. Story telling is one activity when your kids are all ears. They want to know what happened, they want to know why it happened, and remember the characters, the places, the morals. It just goes to say that were keenly listening. That one skill that’s going to help them as they grow. A good listener. You are just helping them be that.
#9. Introduction to our roots and traditions
In India, the grandparents usually narrate mythological stories to the kids so that they know their roots and traditions. It’s a good practice for your kids to be in touch with their roots and know about their family traditions and the mythology.
#10. Reduces screen time
Story telling is definitely going to help you reduce their screen time. It is some time off the television and the gadgets and you end up spending some quality time with your little one. Studies have shown that using gadgets just before sleep can interfere with your sleep. A bedtime story ensures that your little one slips into a deep sleep and has a peaceful sleep.
How to make story telling sessions effective, fun and engaging?
With these advantages about story telling sessions with your child that I have listed above, is there anything that we need to keep in mind when we narrate stories?
There are a few points that would help you do that.
From my experience, I have listed out few things that can help you with your story telling sessions.
#1. Keep it simple
Ensure that the stories that you narrate are fairly simple and easy to understand. Remember you are talking to a child and anything that’s too much for them to understand will take the interest away.
#2. Keep it short
Kids have short attention spans, so make the stories short and sweet. Another reason why kids’ stories should be short is so that they understand it better and remember it.
#3. One at a time
Do not introduce too many stories at a time. It will not work. Introduce few stories and for a few days stick to it. In fact, you will see that your child is asking for a repeat narration for most of them.
#4. Keep the words simple
Remember that I was talking about introducing new words?
Well, don’t go about telling them stories with too many complex words. That won’t help them learn and will just end up confusing them.
Do not use too many new words in a story. Try using the words which they already know with a new word so that helps them correlate.
#5. No violent and horror stories please
The last thing you would want is your little one getting scared of the stories that you narrate.
Both of you will end up losing sleep!
#6. Read out books
If you are running out of, read out a book to them. There are plenty of short stories, moral stories like Aesop’s tales available in the market.
#7. Be loud and clear
Make sure you are loud enough for them to hear and slow so that your speech is clear. They are going to pick up a lot of stuff from your narrations.
#8. Encourage them to ask questions
Sometimes they will have too many questions both relevant and irrelevant. Encourage them to ask more questions. You are just helping them widen their horizon.
#9. Anytime can be story time
Story time is not necessarily bed time. I tell my little one stories when we travel. She is motion sick and this just diverts her attention. Try telling them stories during meal time as well. If you have a picky eater, this one is way better than switching on the TV or letting them play with the mobile, to get them to eat.
#10. Be creative
Your stories need not always be read from a book or something from your memory. Many times you will have to build up stories and that just adds to the fun. It is a good exercise for your grey cells as well.
The stories need not always be logical, but it should be fun for the kid.
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So now you know the benefits of storytelling for kids. I have also shared my tips to be a great storyteller momma.
Hope this helps you in your story telling sessions and encourages you to start telling stories to your kids. I am sure you are going to have a great time and spend some quality time with your child through some great stories.
How many of you tell stories to your munchkins? Which is their favourite story? Let me know in the comments.