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Estimated read time : 4 minutes

If you want your children to be smart, tell them stories. If you want them to be brilliant, tell them more stories.- Albert Einstein

It’s World Storytelling day today and we at That Parent Thing thought it important to bring the focus back on storytelling – why and how storytelling plays a crucial role in your little one’s childhood experience.

In retrospect, storytelling has been an important part of human civilization across cultures since human language evolved. With time, it has grown into an effective education tool, specifically for early years (1-6 years) of children. For children at such a young age, storytelling provides an opportunity to explain and illustrate abstract ideas or concepts in a way that makes them more approachable and accessible. Research shows that storytelling has the ability to build a greater sense of community, enhance knowledge and memory recall, support early literacy development, and expand creative potential in young children.

Benefits of storytelling

In your interaction with children, you would have noticed that they are drawn to narrative. It is quite easy to sustain a child’s interest and curiosity through stories. Apart from being a great tool for engagement, storytelling also has other specific benefits –

  1. Storytelling enhances children’s imagination and creativity
  2. Supports and extends children’s social lives and provides insight into his/her culture
  3. Helps develop their emotional and cognitive skills such as ‘deferred imitation’, speculation and knowledge
  4. Storytelling contributes significantly to all aspects of language development
  5. Is an effective bridge to early literacy and moral right and wrong early on

Photo Credit: PIxabey

Effective storytelling hacks

Storytelling is effective when it goes beyond just reading a book out aloud. Voice modulation, eye contact, singing, and dancing are essential to a great storytelling experience for your child. Here are some tips and tricks to elevate your storytelling –

  • Sing a song or say a rhyme linked to the content of the story or one of the characters in the story
  • Use props to engage multiple sense of the child
  • As you tell the story, build up to a dramatic pause and ask, ‘So, what do you think will happen next?’ This helps to develop your children’s prediction and imaginative skills
  • Get your children participate in the story by repeating the sounds/ songs/ moves you employ to tell the story
  • Change your voice for different characters
  • Build stories around situations that your child has been in so there is relatability and potential to build empathy
  • Alternately you can ask your child to put themselves in the character’s situation and ask them what they would have done differently
  • Make the ending strong with a vivid takeaway and use repetition well to land a point
  • Encourage them to build their own interpretations of the story by asking them to retell or draw the story
Photo Credit: PIxabey

Stories and self-expression

To further help extend the child’s need to explore into stories, it is recommended to engage them through ‘extension activities’. When given the opportunity, most children are very keen to tell stories, draw those stories or even enact them. You will find that the little ones find their self-expression through such activities and make each story their own. This process will also help you get a glimpse into your child’s swiftly developing thought process and personality.

So, what are you waiting for? Switch on story mode, switch off any distractions and drift away to a magical land with your little one.