6 Ways To Love A Child Using Stories
Reading and telling stories, as well as teaching them to become beginner storytellers, have an abundance of benefits for your growing child that last forever.
1. Developing Language and Vocabulary
Listening to stories is a wonderful way to get exposure to new words, phrases and concepts. In the beginning, for toddlers especially, listening to a story that’s being read to them can build a surprising vocabulary and beginning speech that he/she will use later as they learn the art of storytelling.
2. Learning to Rhyme and Eventually Speaking in Rhyme
It’s no wonder that The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss is still on bookshelves today. Rhyming sounds fun, and really makes kids enjoy stories even more. But the reasoning behind why it’s also good for their brains is because rhyming begins to bring attention to word families. You know, words that have the same ending like, Ted, Bed, Red. Children are realizing that some words sound the same, and they’re building a library of sounds and words in their heads that they’ll one day use to read and tell stories with.
3. Discovering Emotions
Stories are possibly the best teacher of emotional development that there is! Adults are able to identify that they’re feeling mad and why. For example, an adult notices “I’m embarrassed because I forgot to set my alarm this morning, and now I’m late for work.” But children, have a flood of new emotions that they haven’t learned what to do with yet. Stories are an excellent gateway to introducing characters, and a child can begin to see and empathize with what a character is experiencing and feeling. For example, “Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” A child that hears this short story and sees the illustrations of a broken egg on the ground, can begin to have beginner feelings of empathy for what poor Humpty is going through, and can begin to discuss why they may be feeling sad for Humpty falling off the wall with the storyteller.
4. Builds Confidence in Reading & Speaking
One of the top fears that adults have is public speaking. Some adults are even held back from shining and sharing their giftedness with others because of this crippling fear. When we share stories with a child, and later let them share those same stories with us or with a peer, we are giving them the beginning building blocks to having the confidence to read aloud in a class one day. And later, to speak publicly, or give a presentation at work as a confident adult.
5. Creative Thinking Skills
When a child is using something like a puppet, they instantly transition from becoming a story listener to becoming the storyteller for that moment. Suddenly, they have the power to name their character, to describe where they live, and to choose what is happening in their puppet’s life. They can even take a well-known story, like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and come up with a whole new ending or a new story altogether! This new power of choice brings joy and excitement for a child, as they realize that they can decide what happens next! A child’s ability to be creative, and become inventive thinkers will help them immensely in life as they encounter problems and will be able to use their creative thinking skills to help find a solution to their problem.
6. Social Development
Our social skills are budding when we are children. Listening to stories helps a child to see social interactions with the characters from the stories. But beginning to tell stories with shadow puppets, for instance, helps a child to begin to interact with other puppets in a social sense. Suddenly the shadow puppets have a relationship of some sort, whether it be mother and child, or brother and sister, or characters living in the same part of the woods. A child chooses how his puppets will relate to one another, and in addition, the child storyteller is relating socially to the adults and other children in the audience watching their shadow puppet show!
Loving a child and giving them the best keys that we know how to unlock a clever, confident and caring future early in their lives, is in the hearts of almost every parent, teacher and child care giver. So the next time that it’s raining, or when your child is bored and possibly starting to get into trouble, find a wall, turn on a flashlight, and let the show begin!
It’s astounding how much listening to stories, and then beginning to become the storytelling for themselves is benefiting our children. What about you? What’s your favorite story to tell? Has your child begun practicing telling stories on their own yet? Let me know about you, your home and what you think about this research in the comments below. I look forward to getting to know you and your family better!
If you’d like to see the shadow puppets we created, and are using for our children to teach them beginning storytelling skills, you can view them in our Shopify store by clicking here!