Once upon a time...
these four little words have the super power to immediately transfer your
children and you to another reality. Stories have the power of altering your
children’s minds. What stories you tell your child and how you narrate them is
of utmost importance.
Storytelling gives parents the chance to experience exciting journeys into the
unknown with their children. Together, they can journey to new places, interact
and observe new people, and do new things; all from the familiarity of their
homes. Storytelling gives parents the undivided attention of their children as
they share a blanket, laugh at funny parts, fall in love with heroes and root
for villains to fail.
It benefits children as
well as parents. It gives parents an opportunity to snuggle, cuddle and connect
with their children while developing their kids’ imagination, creativity and
language skills. Stories are not just bedtime entertainment that can help
impart great morals to children, but they can also help create bonds with
children. Your child may forget the first TV show he watched but will always
remember the story of the thirsty crow that you told him, before kissing his
forehead and wishing him goodnight.
What stories you tell your
child and how you narrate them is of utmost importance. Here is a little help
on narrating stories that will interest your child and help you bond.
Stories of legends and mythological characters
Introduce your children to
the world of mythology with mythological
tales around the world. There are hundreds of exciting Indian mythological
characters and stories that you can tell your child about. You can even spark
your child's interest with mythological stories from Greece and Egypt.
Some stories have heroes that are symbolic legends even today. For example,
stories of Krishna's life in Gokul, Sindbad the traveller, Achilles or King Ramases of Egypt make great
reads for children.
The Indian culture has a
variety of mythological characters in great epic stories like Ramayana and the Mahabharata that can set
your child's imagination racing. So pick these stories and let your child take
a plunge in the world of mythology. You can even find these stories online.
The Arabian Nights
amazing tales from Arabian countries that is full of morals
and values. Each story in the thousand and one Arabian Nights is as
amazing and enchanting as the other. Every story
is beautifully woven around genies, witches, the common man, kings, queens,
slaves, prince, princesses, animals and spirits. The exotic Arabian Nights
are a great collection to have and reading them to your children is equally
Short Stories for children
If you cannot finish big
stories like the Arabian Nights, you can read them in parts or opt
out for short stories for children. There are different categories like Aesop's fables, Panchatantra and
the Jataka tales. Aesop's fables are
animal stories and kids will love hearing about talking monkeys and weeping birds.
It has very strong values that a child can learn from. The Panchatantra is also a
good mix of human and animal characters. The Jataka are based on a belief
that Gautam Buddha appeared in many
forms to spread his message. The witty Akbar and Birbal tales are very
exciting, dramatic and can make your child laugh at the smart morals. You can
read one story a day or at bedtime.
Authors, Books and Series kids will love
and narrate stories from authors such as Roald
Dahl, Enid Blyton, C. S. Lewis, Lowis Lowry and Agatha Christie. Read them
series like the Famous Five, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Harry Potter, etc. Magic, the
fight of good versus evil, victory of the underdog, you name it and the Harry
Potter series has it! Classics such as Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of
Narnia, Matilda, Robinson Crusoe, etc., are termed classics for a reason, and
must definitely be a part of all children’s book libraries!
Story time is fun and helpful for kids
Story time is a very
special time for you and your child. If your child has played all
those games and you do not know what to do next, reading a
story is always a refreshing break. Once you and your child spend time reading
and listening to stories you both will look forward to that magical story time.
Story time helps your child get your undivided attention and helps
develop his listening skills, which are a rarity today.
Ensure that you have kept
some time aside for telling stories to your children. A child will always be
ready to hear the simplest of stories, if you have the time to tell.
Telling stories at bed time
This is the most special
time to tell stories. Nothing can replace the feeling when your child is lying
cuddled in your arms hearing to every word you have to say. Watch the
amazement, excitement and curiosity shining in his eyes at every little detail
you provide. Telling stories at bedtime can be a good habit and also a signal
that it is time to sleep. Turn off the television and huddle in bed
with a nice story book. There are special bedtime story books
available that you can read from.
Gift a storybook
A good book makes a
great gift. Buy a storybook for your child instead of a toy that will
break soon. Use the internet to show your child some important sites where they
can read stories. Reward your child with a book when he does something nice.
Buy a storybook from a place you visit on a business trip. Read it together.
Write a message in every book you buy and date it. It will turn into a treasure
once your son or daughter grows up.
How to read a story to a child
If you are reading your
child a fairy tale, you can use
your voice to emote feelings for different characters. You can read or speak in
a hoarse sound for a monster and you can have a delicate soft voice for a
princess. A squeaky sound for a squirrel would sound funny. It helps a child
imagine better and breathes life into every character. Highlight the positive
aspects and downplay negativities. For example, avoid getting Cinderella's
beauty under the spotlight. You can bring up the point that not all stepmothers
are bad but Cinderella's stepmother
was an exception.
Make your child the hero of a story
This one will test your
creativity but may be relatively easy too. If you are running out of stories
then create a story about your child and tell him that story. Make
him or her hero of the story. Send him across to magical lands;
highlight his personality, his likes and dislikes and how at the end the hero
overcomes the bad. You will end up having a lot of fun and your child
will love you for telling him a story where he is the hero, like all the other
heroes in storybooks. You can stress on the point that he is your real hero.
If your child is exhausted
from hearing the same stories over and over again, there is a plethora of
stories available if you just look around. You can pick up anything and weave a
story around it. For example, take up the biography of Mother Teresa and tell
your child about her like a story. Try doing it with even a simple incident
like the apple dropping on Newton's head. You can even source out
stories from books or log online.
to stories helps increasing memory. A story narrated well, is remembered
well. Imagine, if History teachers taught every lesson like a story would
children struggle to remember dates and events? Why don't you give it a try?
Pick up that book and tell your child an amazing story that he will
Do you tell stories
to your child? What stories have you read so far? Does your child enjoy
listening to stories? Discuss here.