How often do you delight your child with a story at bedtime or any other time of the day? Is your answer very rarely or never? Well it's true for most of us how we have forgotten the timeless tradition of storytelling to our child for varying reasons.
Storytelling by parents- A child's delight
Unquestionably this era has introduced multiple fancy gadgets to our children which have taken precedence over those moments of bonding conversations between a parent and a child, forget about storytelling.
Under the pretext of getting the 'work done' faster and curbing those incessant tantrums, we end up luring the child with colorful screens flashing cartoon figures. So most of the time those little sparkling eyes wait for the illuminated screens with bated breath rather than a fairy tale from mom or dad.
Kids glued to screens instead of storybooks
However let's dig a little deeper and figure out the significance of storytelling. Every time you narrate a story to your child, it's an experience for him!
It gives wings to his imagination by introducing him to the possibility of occurrence of an event or happening thus presenting with the nuances of the world stretching his mind and enhancing creative thinking ability.
Make your child imagine & think
Here’s the deal!
When he relates to the characters in the story or a situation, a lot happens in the brain as he mentally begins to communicate and think. The child starts to wonder and question more as he gets fascinated and drawn to the story and sometimes wants to listen to it repeatedly.
That’s not all, storytelling may infuse inquisitiveness in a child to want to know more and gather more awareness which can greatly contribute to a child's mental growth throughout his years of learning.
A curious mind will always want to explore more than they know, sometimes in their minds and other times physically by touching, smelling, climbing or tasting thus acquainting them with the unknown aspects of their life waiting to be discovered.
Why is curiosity so important for a child? According to a study from the University of California, our brain chemistry changes when we become curious which further helps us to learn and retain information.
Curiosity sparks imagination in children
Storytelling by parents also inculcates other attributes like patience in a child which helps them to first think through and then resolve and respond to situations rather than acting impulsively.
Isn't it true that we as adults too have a hard time being patient at times? So don't you think that it definitely is worth to have the children practice patience as a behavior from earlier on in their lives?
Storytelling is a very promising way to bond with your child, to participate in the development of your child and to instill strong values. It even helps you to know your child's preferences and tastes or orient him with the umpteen options available out there.
Parent and child bonding over storytelling
Do you think that you may not be a good storyteller or you may run out of ideas to take your child for a visit to another wonderland? Well, it's not as difficult as you think.
Let's work on it together. Allow us to give you some storytelling tips!
a) Construct your story
The story needs to go in a sequential order unfolding the situations one by one. Sometimes the child may get very impatient so it's important as to how we construct the story and conclude it to impart the right message across.
A storytelling sequence illustration
b) Length of the story
The story should be for an appropriate length so that the child doesn't lose his interest. A too long or too short story may not seem too occupying for the child and perhaps even prove distracting enough for him to look for other interesting alternatives than a story
Keep your child excited with the story not bored
c) Ending the story with a moral message
Ensure that the story delivers the right message across to the child as this would significantly affect his thought patterns, his ability to differentiate between right or wrong and his judgments about situations or people thus shaping him to his best self.
Moral stories for kids
d) Frame open-ended questions in the story
You can stimulate the child with open-ended questions thereby engaging him to contribute to the story.
A question like 'what do you think could have happened to The Frog Prince’? When you phrase such engaging questions the child begins to weigh the right or wrong options as per his understanding and you can further help him arrive to conclusions.
Story- The Frog Prince
e) Repeat your stories
Stories don't need to be new every time. If you discover that a story depicting courage and bravery interests your child more than a simple Cinderella fairy tale, then you can repeat those stories and you will see how excited your child gets to listen to it again.
The famous story of Pied Piper when he rescues the city from rats
f) Engage the child by asking questions
Make your child participate in storytelling by repeatedly questioning him to establish the sequence of the story and figure where his interest lies and leave it open for him to ponder upon and suggest what could have happened.
You can also use pictures only.
Using pictures to narrate a story
g) Use theatrical effects or animation in the story
Another wonderful idea is to make the story animated or theatrical evoking the child's senses by bringing in the element of sound or pauses.
These sounds could be the sounds of animals like a long moo for a cow or a grunt for an elephant in case animals are a part of your story or a creaking sound of a door opening just to add effects to the story and make it more gripping.
Animal voices for a theatrical effect in a story
Do these storytelling tips sound interesting to you? We tell you there is no dearth of ideas.
You just need to be willing to encourage your child and chip in your time to bond and make those precious memories whether you are a mother or a father as you both have equal roles in participation of a child's upbringing.
So go ahead and begin practicing these storytelling tips we mentioned above and you will see how your interaction changes with your child over a short period of time.