We have grown up listening to stories narrated by our grandparents, parents and other elders in our families. As children, most of us spent our days waiting to hear these exciting tales. Some of these stories shaped us into the people we are today. We identified with some of the characters and that helped us develop the virtues portrayed in the stories.
Unfortunately, these days, this powerful art of storytelling is rapidly disappearing because of the increasing addiction to technology. The tremendous amount of work pressures parents face makes it even worse. It has become increasingly difficult for parents to find the time to tell stories to their kids, given the lopsided work-life balance most parents are experiencing. Hopefully, you will draw some inspiration and motivation from the following long-term benefits of telling stories to your children:
1. They become better listeners
Listening is one of the most important skills children need to develop. Without this competence, children won’t be able to learn other important skills like speaking, reading and writing. Telling stories to kids is one of the most efficient ways to develop this crucial skill. Some studies have shown that childhood is the critical period when children absorb most of the words they use later in their lives.
Children have a very short attention span, and so it is often difficult to get them to focus on anything. Storytelling stories, on the other hand, is one of the best ways to captivate their attention. Stories have a way of engaging children. They keep following as the story progresses because they want to know what is going to happen next. Start or continue telling stories to your children, and you will notice that their listening abilities are gradually developing.
2. They grow up with virtues
Self-confidence, respect, patience, honesty, kindness, and generosity – these are some of the important values most parents want their children to emulate early on. Having your children grow up with such values, will help protect them from some of the negative influences of society. Besides, a huge part of being a parent is making sure that you instil solid morals in your children.
So how can you achieve this? By telling stories. Children love listening to stories and they tend to imitate their favourite characters. Carefully handpicking stories with a meaningful message and narrating them to your children, is a great way to teach them important life lesson stories and help them develop good character traits.
3. They become better learners
Learning is a continuous process which never ends, or put differently, should never end. In order to thrive in life, it is important to remain curious – keep asking questions and keep seeking answers. Telling stories is a great way to help children become better learners. Encouraging your children to ask questions when telling them stories is a great learning activity. They learn to associate the images in the book with the stories, thereby, developing their imagination and visualization capacity.
You can also help children learn difficult subjects by putting them in story form. This is a very efficient strategy because it helps bring life to the subject as children tend to identify better with the characters. Asking them to repeat the story after some time has passed also helps to improve their memory.
4. They become aware of their cultural roots
Every family, community, and even nation, has unique cultural roots. This is what binds a group of people and makes them different. Knowing your cultural roots is important because it helps you find yourself. If you do not know where you come from, how do you expect to know where you are going? Just like a tree, knowing your roots helps you to feel grounded. It gives you an identity.
Telling stories to your children is a great way to talk about your rich cultural heritage. You can tell them stories about your parents, your childhood, and traditions, to help them be more familiar with the customs and beliefs which are prevalent in your family. Growing up knowing their roots will broaden their minds and help them relate more effectively across cultural lines.
Telling stories to children has a positive lasting impact on their lives. It does not just help them academically, it also helps them build and sustain relationships with other people. Stories provide a fun opportunity for children to learn important life lessons which they will be able to use throughout their lives. Open that book or start telling stories and watch your children grow to become the giants of tomorrow.