Why Telling Stories to Children is Important for their Development?
Do you have kids that like to listen to stories? My kids also like to listen to stories and always ask me to do it. Why do you think telling stories to children is important in their development? For them it’s not only an interesting activity, but also a ladder to the future. Stories help children to open the doors to unknown worlds and enrich imagination.
One of the best quotes about children and tales comes from Albert Einstein:
“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.”
How to tell stories to children?
We live in a modern world where you can find thousands of fairy tales surfing the internet. Although, you may let the children watch them through TV, computer, tablet or phone, nothing can replace orally telling stories. Because when you tell the stories you add your own imagination, emotions, intonations and words that your children are familiar with. You can do it with different ways: through songs, dance, puppets, poems and more. However, it’s not that easy to be a narrator and keep the child hooked till the end of the story. It’s an art to be able to convey the story in a right way and not make children to get bored.
Moreover, kids are very curious and like to ask very different and unpredictable questions. They may ask questions about every single detail until they satisfy their curiosity. Surprisingly, kids may ask you to tell the same story ten times and never fed up with it. So, be more patient and be prepared for these kind surprises.
Here are several reasons why telling stories to children is very important in their growth and development stage.
Telling stories develops speaking skills
At the young age children carefully observe adults and imitate their behavior and words. Likewise, when adults read the story loudly children learn how to read the book, how to pronounce words and how to make sentences in a right way.
You can make the stories a part of your daily routine. Not necessarily to read them from books every time. You can tell stories while feeding the baby, while walking, or doing shopping, on the train or in the car. Don’t wait until your kid becomes grown enough to understand the meaning of the story. Maybe they can’t comprehend the story, can’t understand many words or can’t ask questions for clarification, but don’t think that you’re wasting time. For toddlers it’s the way to learn speaking while for older kids it’s an opportunity to develop communication skills.
Improves memory and literacy skills
Sometimes children ask to read or tell one story several times. Not always parents can tolerate however for children it is not the same as for parents. They never get tired. Every time when they listen or read the story they pay attention for more details, remember everything better and comprehend better.
When you tell stories ask questions to encourage the child and to check the memory. For example, you may ask “What did he find?” “Where did it go?” “What happened next?”. This helps to sharpen their memory even better. Children with good memory tend to show good results at school too.
Stimulates imagination and creativity
One advantage of reading stories over watching them on TV is their support in encouraging imagination. Especially, fairy tales and stories with elements of magic help to stimulate imaginative and creative thinking. When children read the story or listen they immediately start to imagine characters and the place where actions take place. That means they become co-creators of the story.
Every child’s perception and vision distinguishes, so the result of their imagination also will be very different. This may also depend on the narrator’s ability to describe details and to convey them into child’s mind. Well, if there is a good opportunity to develop creative thinking, don’t just ruin it by showing them everything.
Stories are good for learning new words
At the early years brain is receptive for new knowledge, so the children may absorb many new words they would use throughout their lives. Children learn new words every time you introduce them while narrating a story. For them it is easier to understand the meaning of new words when comprehending a story. That’s how they can enlarge their vocabulary.
Moreover, try to buy them bilingual books where the stories are written in two languages. So, they can improve the vocabulary in their native language and get familiar with a new language. At the young age brain is fresh and works best, so children can easily handle with two languages.
Children learn to be brave
Have you paid attention before that many tales are in heroic genre? Why it is like this? – Because the mission of these kinds of stories is to help children to be brave.
Let’s take an example of the story about three pigs and wolf. Three pigs were not superheroes or they did not possess any supernatural abilities, yet they could defeat the wolf. Stories teach children that they can be brave and overcome obstacles even without super abilities or magic.
They see how good conquers the evil
We want children to be prepared for real life. We want to see them as brave, confident and intelligent people. That’s why tell more stories, they help to do it. You may ask “But how? Fairy tales are all about myth, how they can prepare for real life?” Children and adults live in two different worlds. We all know that there is no an ideal person in the world, but for children it is not like this.
Fairy tale characters can be good or evil, clever or fool, kind or cunning. Characters represent what the story is teaching us. In stories everything is clear – good is good and bad is bad. Children see how good conquers the evil like in “Little Red Riding Hood” or “Snow White”. They can see what are the consequences of being good and being evil. This is the way how tales prepare children for real life.
Storytelling lowers stress and anxiety
When children read an interesting story they feel happy. Stories can entertain, make them laugh, captivate and transport into fairy world. Kids easily get excited by such kind of stories and eager to know the continuation. Listening to stories and singing rhymes with parents lowers anxiety and stress level in children.
Reading together promotes bonding
Storytelling is a good opportunity to know your child better. While sitting together and discussing the content you will find out more about interests and personality of your kid. By how much your child is captivated by story plot you can find out what kind of stories he or she likes.
Next time when you go to the library or bookstore go together with your child. This is a great chance to spend time together, to have fun, to know your child’s preferences in books and fairy tales. By learning reading habits and abilities of your kid you may encourage to love books and stories more.