Storytelling is as old as human life itself. Human beings endowed with the power to communicate and active imagination made this delightful discovery of stories. As Mckinsey puts it “Human beings have been communicating with each other through storytelling & narrative since living in caves and sitting around campfires. We might say storytelling is virtually hardwired into our DNA, we use stories to define ourselves, to make meaning & sense of the world, to teach values & pieces of wisdom, to engage others in change. We learn things at deep levels through hearing stories, they move before we know why we are being moved, they affect us before we have time to put up defences.”
Since I was a child, my fond memories are those of listening to my mom’s stories. She has been a highly creative when it came to engaging me & my sister with a story. She could conjure one out of thin air any time, anywhere especially when we both were most cranky. She had a story for us while working in the kitchen, riding on a rickshaw & even in the middle of a family gathering, where she would take us to a corner and put across her point indirectly through a story.
When I became a mother, I realised & learnt to appreciate her genius better. Storytelling is a thing of beauty and an ever-evolving craft in itself. We not only communicate in form of stories but also think or rather talk to ourselves in form of stories. Our days are made up of nothing but lots of short & long stories.
Today technology has invaded our lives like never before. Nuclear families with both the parents working find little space for meaningful interaction between parents and children. The busy life overpowered by the social setup & daily chores has made the art of storytelling rare. But we as parents should take some time out every day to read out to our kids especially preschoolers, kindergarteners & young children. We can also share a story from our life or just talk about our own childhood. (my kids love to hear about what all I used to do with my siblings when I was her age) This little effort on our part will reap unprecedented benefits in shaping the personality of our little one:
Listening to stories requires the attention of all senses. It helps capture the imagination of the children. Children naturally grow up talking. So inculcating a habit of listening by telling stories provides them with the necessary training to listen & comprehend.
2. Improves Vocabulary
Reading stories to kids helps to make them acquainted with new words & phrases. Besides children learn the right pronunciation and correct usage of the words.
3. Augments Creativity & Imagination
Stories with complex plots & situations arouse visual treats in human minds thus augmenting the imagination of children and improving their creativity.
4. Boosts Up the Cultural Connection
Stories give children a sense of their place in the world. Along with acquainting them with their own cultural roots, they also learn about different customs & traditions prevalent in the family.
5. Sharpens the Memory
Stories help to sharpen the memory of children. This can be done by various methods like asking them to narrate the same story to their friends & families. This will amplify their learning by exchange of ideas in different groups on the same topic.
6. Emboldens Language Skill
As children listen to a storyteller, they see and hear the building of plot & 4 C’s which are Characterisation, Conflict, Climax & Conclusion. Thus they learn skills that may serve them later.
7. Broadens the Horizons
Stories expose children to different cultures and countries of the world, thus making them familiar with ever-changing the world around them.
8. Embellishes Communication Skill
Stories expose children to a wide range of words with emotions related to them. This equips them to use these expressions in their daily communication. Reading together also promotes the bonding & communication between parent & child.
9. Boost Emotional Development
Stories influence how children choose to act in the world. They also prepare them to accept pain & loss as part of life. This helps them to deal with many situations in life confidently later on.
10. Strengthens Social Skills
Stories have a strong influence on how kids think & behave. Children have their perspectives on aspects of identity such as gender & age.
11. Helps in Re-affirming Values
Stories convey moral values, beliefs, attitudes, social values which in turn shape their perspective and ideology.
12. Reinvents One Reality
Stories help shape children’s perception of reality. We all tend to understand ourselves through other characters. Children mix reality & fiction in their interpretation of stories, which help them develop a better mechanism to deal with their real-life troubles.
13 Develops Life-Skills
Stories are a way to empower children with essential life-skills. The stories motivate the children to deal with difficult or tricky situations in a more sensible and intelligent manner. it also encourages them to be an active participant in the situation rather than being just a recipient.
We all enjoy a good story be it a novel, a movie or simply an experience of a friend who is a good storyteller.Researchers have proved that while listening to a story, it is not just the language processing parts in one brain that are activated but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too. It is simple, that when we are being told by our friend about a delicious dish, we also start salivating & feel hungry. Or when someone is sharing his painful experience with us tearfully, our tear gland also get activated. Such is the impact & power of stories. So do take out some time for storytelling with your kids. Happy Storytelling.
( Disclaimer: Views expressed by the author are personal.)
By: Neha D Sharma