Growing up, listening to stories from my grandparents and parents was one of my favorite pass times and would advocate the importance of storytelling to children from a very young age.
In good old days, my mother used to lie beside me and narrate to me a story of a strong princess who defeated thousands of warriors in battle and how I used to build my own stories around listening to her. How fascinated I was about becoming strong and conquering the world. I remember my grandmother narrating few stories of righteous people and these stories made me what I am today as they helped me to learn very important lessons of life.
I remember how stories of Vikram and Betaal et al use to excite me and over a period of time made me more resourceful and responsible. Most stories taught how Good always defeated the Bad.
With technology evolving at every step and with a culture of nuclear families, children spend most of their time with smartphone and tablets. We have applications that can help us monitor what children watch and can keep track of their every move but nothing can replace those amazing moments.
How visual effects have taken front seat
Storytelling has considerably reduced since visual effects introduced by technology have been introduced which are definitely more engaging. Most parents hand over tablets or smartphones to children to spend their time but it is not the same as storytelling. An education consultant, says, “Storytelling is an interactive activity but on digital mediums it becomes a one-way thing where someone is telling you what to think and showing you an image that they think is appropriate. Thanks to this, a child’s brain becomes a dumping ground because you stop using your imagination and your thinking powers by relying only on what is being spoon-fed to you.” She states that digital story telling is less humane. Talking about how the art of story telling has changed over the years, she explains, “Many parents feel that showing stories on the Internet is as good as narrating them, but storytelling is about interacting with another human being and using one’s imagination to visualise.”
Importance of Storytelling
Introduction to new vocabulary
One of the importance of storytelling to children is that listening to stories enhances vocabulary. My son is 3 years old and has learnt new words because of the stories I narrate. Sometime he gets curious and tries to learn more about the words that come out of my mouth. Best part is that he remembers most of the words and retains them.
Helps children learn
With different stories children tend to learn more about sounds, words and language. This enhances learning skills and increases their absorption power. Most children remember stories since they love them. Storytelling is an art and if done with modulation can excite a child’s mind thus gaining full attention.
While listening to a story your child get engaged and learns to listen to you. While growing up, storytelling encourages and enhances the listening skills of children. When a habit of listening to stories is inculcated in them, they learn to become better listeners. It provides them the necessary training to listen and understand more, instead of talking.
Introduce your culture and values
Storytelling can play an important role is transforming a child’s perspective. It could help you pass on your values and thoughts to your child in a simpler way. You could narrate stories that can allow your child to learn more about your culture and its various intricacies. During Diwali, I created a story through which my son learned about the essence of the festivals and why we celebrate Diwali. Now he tells this story to anyone who will listen to him.
Innovation and skills expansion
Through story telling you could introduce innovation. My son would listen to a story at night and the next day will come up with a new drawing or would create something new using his building kits that would relate to something we discussed yesterday.
Encourage emotional development
Storytelling is a great way to enhance emotions of your children. A Story could actually run them though different emotions and this eventually makes them strong and help them understand their various emotions.
I am sure most of us would have seen Bedtime Stories (an Adam Sandler movie). It is one of my favorites. Storytelling could be a great way for you to bond with your child and making it a routine during bedtime could be a great ritual. Even if you are working, a small bed time story can allow you to connect with your child. Any child would love to spend this time and cherish these memories.
And you never know your stories can become real and you might get a Ferrari for freeeeeeeeee (you have to watch the movie to get this reference)!!
Reduces TV and smartphone time
Most children are addicts and spend most of their time with tablets and TV. Most parents complain about children spending too much time. Storytelling could help reduce binge watching. My child loves to listen to stories and loves spending his day drawing characters from the stories. A story can also be used as a bargaining instrument once your child gets addicted to it. Like if my child misbehaves his story time is reduced by 10 minutes.
Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today – Robert MckeeRead more about introducing reading to your child, click here
Time to relax from hectic schedule
A storytelling time could be a time when you could relax after a hectic schedule and spend some time as a family. Some days you could ask your child to narrate you a story. This would not only enhance his imagination but also confidence.
I am sure reading this article would motivate you to incorporate storytelling time in your schedule. Don’t forget to share your views.