Storytelling for kids is an important part of their development. Whether it’s reading books, making things up, recounting past events or listening to ebooks, there are plenty of ways to reap the benefits.
Frequent storytelling will help your children in many ways. They’ll improve their communication skills, particularly their listening and attention. They’ll be able to learn more easily as they get older, and they’ll learn lots along the way — from values and virtues to cultural awareness and a better memory.
Perhaps best of all, it’ll help grow their imagination, which you’ll be able to see in the way they play, draw and interact with others.
There are lots of ways to include storytelling in your child’s life. Many people include books in the bedtime routine, as podcasts in the car or through other avenues, like educators reading to them at day care.
Why Storytelling For Kids is Important
Storytelling is an engaging way for parents and others to spend time with a child, and one that has many benefits for all concerned.
A child is never too early for books. Even though a baby won’t understand the nuances of a tale, they will get huge benefits from listening to stories. They’ll start to pick up on different sounds and words, which will help them on the path to communicating with you, and it’s a nice, easy way for parents to build a strong bond with their child. Many early books, like the ‘That’s not my…‘ series, have a tactile element too, which helps keep younger children engaged.
As they get older, they’ll be able to develop soft skills like concentration and focus, all while spending time with a loved one.
The Benefits of Storytelling for Kids
As well as those soft skills, books ignite a passion for learning and curiosity in children. Starting with a blank slate, books can take your children around the world. They’ll learn about different cultures, about right vs wrong and show them parts of the world that they just didn’t know existed.
By introducing children to new aspects of life, they’ll associate books with learning and education. This will be a big part of their life in school and maybe university, so developing positive connections with books early on can help them through their entire schooling.
As well as the real world, they’ll be shown things that can only exist in fantasy. Fairies, unicorns, dragons and wizards can all captivate attention and interest, but they mostly begin life in stories.
1. They Learn About Values and Virtues
One of the most important things for parents to teach their children is about right and wrong. While you can, and should, show your children about kindness and manners through example, there are lots of books that help showcase values and virtues.
From classics like The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Lorax to more recent examples like Have You Filled A Bucket Today? and Strictly No Elephants, your child can learn about honesty, environmental compassion, kindness and caring for others from some well-thumbed tomes.
By introducing your children to stories like these, they’re easy to reference when your child undoubtedly comes to dilemmas in their own life. ‘Do we remember what happened to the boy who cried wolf when he didn’t tell the truth?’
2. Improves Listening Skills
Every parent has encountered numerous situations where a child hasn’t listened to them. While reading to them isn’t going to completely overcome this issue, it can help.
Storytelling puts children in the role of active listener. They may often play up and give up on a story, but they’ll also get engaged and learn that there are rewards in listening.
The more they get to interact with books that they like, the better they’ll become at listening to your voice and your words, which will help them behave more appropriately at other times.
3. Grows Their Imagination
Seeing a child tell their own stories and build make-believe worlds with their toys is a joy to behold. In many cases, the building blocks of this imagination comes from books and storytelling?
Throughout the ages, people have come alive because of books. We’ve been transported from tales of far flung places, been entranced by mythical beasts and beguiled by rhyming cats.
Children take ideas from books and build on them, alone and with friends. When they play, the more inspiration they’ve received through books and other mediums, the more imaginative they can be.
Whether it’s a direct copy, an amalgamation of a few stories or a slight tweak of something they’ve been read, imagination brings out the best in a child.
4. Increases Their Cultural Awareness
Cultural awareness is something that’s becoming more and more important for children. Travel is a great way to teach this, but books also help. They can introduce ideas and cultures in a quick and understandable way that means your child isn’t shocked when they encounter situations in real life.
There are titles available that cover all parts of life that a child may not have direct experience of in their younger years. Children can be introduced to different ways of life in books like When We Say Black Lives Matter and Whoever You Are or Mommy, Mama & Me and Daddy, Papa & Me.
These books are great starting points for important conversations and help to give children a more-rounded view of the world early on in life. By introducing these concepts early, your child will become a kinder and more accepting person when they come across people who may not be the same as them.
5. Improves Communication Skills
There are two key components to good communication: speaking and listening. Storytelling improves both.
One of the cornerstones of clear speaking and understandable comments is vocabulary. While children learn a lot of words from family and friends, books give them a chance to learn language that may not come to them in another way. They’ll pick up new words, phrases and sayings that they can incorporate into their daily life to make communication that much easier.
Storytelling requires good listening to follow what’s happening. As children are read to more often, they get used to listening to another person speaking, which is vital in a good conversation.
On top of that, stories often have characters communicating — whether that’s in conversation or through instructions. These examples help children understand how people can communicate with one another.
Stories also give parents a chance to interact with their children with a handy prop. Why do you think that character did that? How is that person feeling? What do you think will happen next?
6. Good for Their Memory
There are many aspects of storytelling that help a child develop a strong and reliable memory.
One of these is familiar to parents – reading the same story again and again. It’s hard to remember something that you’ve heard once, but as a child hears the same story, they begin to recognise aspects of it. They’ll pick up new words but also remember the images and storyline, even beginning to ‘predict’ what’s going to happen next.
Story narratives are also a good way for a child to develop memory, especially with stories that rhyme like Dr Seuss’ books.
As well as that, children will form fond memories of the time you spend together reading books and that’s something all parents should aspire to achieve.
7. Will Make Learning Easier
The skills picked up from book time will help your child learn later in life. From improved memory skills and a greater attention span to a wider vocabulary and knowledge of unfamiliar situations, books can give your child a head start in life.
Children who are introduced to books early in life get a better grasp of reading. This in itself is one of the most useful skills a kid can have as they try to navigate what’s being taught to them in school. From reading textbooks to getting ahead by reading other books, a good reader is a good learner.
8. Improves Concentration
We all know that lots of small children have difficulty maintaining concentration, and storytelling can help improve this. Being able to pay attention is an important skill in many aspects of life, especially at school where they’ll have to listen to teachers and read textbooks to get ahead.
Stories are a great way to build up this skill. Engaging with your baby with playful books is a great way to start this trend and, as they get older, swapping titles out for longer and less picture-focused books will help increase your child’s concentration levels.
You’ll find that a child who can listen well will be able to understand instructions better, they’ll be more comfortable in a classroom setting and they’ll be better equipped to learn.
Storytelling Is Being Replaced By The Abundance of Digital Entertainment
Whether it’s streaming services, phones or tablets, parents are surrounded with instant options to entertain their children. And while there’s still a lot to be learnt and enjoyed from digital entertainment, it’s by no means a replacement for a one-on-one (or even one-on-many) personal interaction.
Having a story read to them by a parent rather than Emma Wiggle will help out a child much more in the long run. Being in the same room as someone can help with engagement, which ultimately makes a story more interesting. Your child will be able to focus better and you’ll have the chance for real points of interaction and conversation.
And while there’s no reason not to put the TV on in short bursts, ultimately your child will be grateful for all the time you spend reading to them.
Story Telling Is Still An Important Part Of A Child’s Development
As all children are unique and they all develop at different rates, there aren’t many universal rules for parenting. Reading stories to your children, however, is one of them.
As well as the strengthening of your personal bond with your child, making storytelling a regular part of your routine gives them a huge boost with their development.
Books and stories will help them with their communication skills, their mental development and set them up for a better time at school. They’ll improve their concentration, their listening skills and their knowledge of the world – things that will make them better behaved and give them an edge with their education.
Perhaps the best bit is that storytelling is engaging. So many children love story time, making it a joy to help your child develop some of their most crucial skills.