For generations, stories have been an important part of growing up. Stories of jungles and animals, kings and queens, young boys and girls—all these play a role in triggering young minds and taking them on a magical journey to a faraway world of imagination.
Stories can make usual things look incredible and prompt emotions you never knew existed. Whether it is about making sense of the world around them or developing a sense of exploration, the benefits of storytelling to kids are numerous.
Today, let us look at how effective storytelling can be a great tool to stimulate young minds and get them to embark on a creative journey with you.
How does Storytelling Help in Early Childhood Education?
Before we talk about why storytelling is important, it is essential to understand why it should be introduced early on. A child’s brain architecture begins taking shape even before birth and continues into early adulthood. According to Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, the early development years—from birth to five years of age—pave the way for educational achievement, lifelong health, and responsible citizenship.
So, what you teach your child during this period will have a lasting impact on them for the rest of their life. Therefore, it is important to ensure your child is exposed to positive experiences and brain-stimulating activities at this stage for healthy childhood development.
One of the best ways to boost your child’s imagination and creative thinking capabilities is by introducing them to stories. Effective storytelling opens up worlds of wonders and takes them on amazing journeys in their mind. Even science backs the fact that storytelling leads to sustained brain activation in children.
Here are Some Reasons Why Storytelling is Important:
1. Sparks Imagination and Curiosity
Children are curious by nature and story telling for kids is a way to understand and explore the world around them in a playful way. Storytelling makes curious minds more curious and encourages them to think outside of the box. A good story, accompanied by effective storytelling, inspires the child to imagine, visualise, and think ahead.
Storytelling is a great way to foster creativity and imagination in children. Creativity, according to a National Library of Medicine Journal, has a direct link with intelligence and reading skills, which are essential for academic success later in life.
2. Helps Deal with Emotions
Children of all ages experience a full spectrum of emotions. Even young children feel fear, anger, sadness, excitement, and joy just like adults. However, due to a lack of understanding, they may not be able to comprehend or express it correctly. During early childhood, they may find it difficult to express these emotions, which may lead to bottling up and frustration.
Stories play an important role in teaching children how to express themselves. They make it easier for them to assume the role of characters and express their feelings. This is a great way for parents to explain emotions to children and teach them how to regulate them. Storytelling builds a stronger EQ (emotional quotient) among children and allows them to handle complex situations better later on in life. It also helps in cultivating empathy for others.
3. Improves Memory
This is a very important benefit of kids story telling. When children listen to stories, they naturally store the plot, storyline, and characters in their memory. Repeatedly narrating the same story boosts their understanding of the story and strengthens their memory. This, in turn, helps them organise their thoughts and enhances their decision-making capabilities.
Better memory means above-average learning abilities and concentration levels—both essential for doing well in school, at work, and in life in general. To sharpen their memory and focus, you can weave in memory games in their storytelling sessions. Or, simply ask the child to repeat the story after a few days.
4. Improves Learning Ability
One of the most pertinent benefits of storytelling to kids is that it prepares them for academic learning. The oldest form of imparting knowledge and awareness, story telling for kids is a critical part of a child’s learning process. Since it makes learning easier and more natural, storytelling preps your child for years in school. You can tell your toddler or pre-schooler a short story on the importance of education now and then to prepare them for formal schooling ahead.
5. Expands Their Vocabulary
Through stories, you can introduce your child to new words and phrases that they may not come across in daily life. This not just expands their vocabulary but also improves their pronunciation.
Stories are not just limited to improved verbal communication. An expanded vocabulary improves their reading, writing, and grammar skills. They use new words in different contexts and express themselves better.
6. Inculcates Moral Values
Lecturing a child on moral values is never as effective as weaving the importance of these values into stories that interest them. Kids like to emulate their favourite characters. Weaving moral values such as honesty, courage, and wisdom into their story characters’ personalities touches them more closely than just telling them about these values.
7. Broadens Their Horizon
Stories have the power to take the child’s mind to where they have never been. They are exposed to the cultures of different societies and countries. This not just helps them get a broader understanding of the world that we live in but also lets them gain the best of what every culture and lifestyle has to offer.
What are Some of The Most Engaging Forms of Storytelling for Children?
Storytelling for kids is much more than one-dimensional reading aloud from a book. You can experiment with several creative formats to make the stories more engaging for the kids. Some unique methods of storytelling stories for kids include dance, audio stories, the use of puppets, and musicals.
It is very important for the child to remain interested in the story from the start till the end. For this, you can let the child participate in storytelling. Allow them the freedom to hop like a bunny or hoot like an owl, or even finish your sentences based on the narrative. The advantages of a storytelling method are based on how well you master the art of your child’s favourite ways of storytelling.
How Can You Become An Amazing Storyteller?
Storytelling is all about working within your child’s limited attention span. The idea is to make every session as engaging as possible. Here are some tips for becoming a great storyteller for your kids:
- Keep the storytelling session brief. A small story telling session captures the child’s attention easily.
- Know the listener and create the stories accordingly. For instance, it helps to know whether your child likes superheroes, aliens, or historical figures.
- Don’t use complicated stories. Sometimes the simplest of stories make the most impact. Children love listening to their parent’s stories. To capture their attention, weave a funny incident that may have happened with you into stories.
- Don’t pressurise your child to learn. The aim of the session should be to allow the child to have fun.
- Maintain eye contact and give the child your full attention throughout.
- To make the session more interesting, use voice modulations and body movements.
- You can use music to make the experience more fun.
- Make sure your story has a structure and ends with a lesson or moral values.
- Encourage them to ask questions. This will help them grasp more and open up.
- Use a new setting and words frequently.
- Invite their friends to these sessions. This will make learning more fun for your child.
- You can create storytelling stories for kids' competition.
Story telling for kids is an amazingly immersive technique that is pivotal to their learning and development. One of the best benefits of storytelling to kids is that there are hundreds of ways to experiment with it. There is so much you can do to boost your child’s early learning capabilities and that too without investing much time.
Raising Superstars strongly believes in making the most of your child’s first few years. This is the time when you can encourage your child to not only retain but enhance the skills and talents they were born with. Our programmes encourage parents to adopt various storytelling methods to bond with their children while preparing them for the years ahead. Contact us to know more.