For centuries, storytelling has been a powerful unifier, helping to weave a common culture between people and serving as the means for each generation to pass on its values to the next. Beyond its social importance, there are a number of tangible benefits of storytelling for children and their parents. Storytelling at a young age helps children to develop social skills and emotional intelligence, sharpens their communication and reading skills and enhances their cognitive development.
What are the benefits of storytelling for your child?
- Enhances comprehension – Frequent listening exercises, especially stories, are a fantastic way to stretch your child’s listening and comprehension skills.
- Improves memory and concentration – Frequent, lively, engaging storytelling sessions are a great way to improve a child’s attention span and work on their concentration. Telling a story multiple times, and even encouraging your child to recite the story, is a great way to build their memory muscle. You can also ask them to repeat bits of the story to help build their ability to remember and repeat. Ask them questions to see how much they have retained and help them strengthen these skills further.
- Build connections & learn social skills – Stories can help establish social and emotional connections between people – they help us to learn about others and understand their situations. They build trust and familiarity by allowing the listener to enter the world of the storyteller. Both experiencing and telling stories helps children to develop empathy and other key social skills that help them to build and retain friendships as they grow older. Storytelling can also be an engaging, bond-building activity between you and your child.
- Good stories contain several meanings– they’re an economical way of conveying complex, multilayered ideas in ways that a child can grasp easily.
- Fosters curiosity and sparks creativity – Stories told with flair and well-timed “pauses” can stimulate your child’s curiosity, especially if you reward them for asking lots of questions. Both fictional and realistic stories can captivate a child’s imagination and boost creative thinking. You can help things along by telling imaginative stories that include mythical characters, places and fantastical elements. Collaborative storytelling creates a safe space for your child’s imagination to run wild, unlike watching a movie or reading a book with a fixed plot and ending.
- Improves vocabulary & verbal skills – Reading out stories from books helps children get familiar with new words and phrases. Listening to adults read stories also helps children to improve their pronunciation and learn to express their thoughts, feelings and ideas faster and more confidently.
- Teaches them about culture – Stories are not just a great way to share your roots with your child, but also a powerful way to introduce them to new concepts, cultures and perspectives. To cultivate cultural awareness, make sure you expose them to people and stories from a variety of backgrounds!
- Instilling values – The benefits of storytelling lie in its ability to effortlessly impart knowledge and values to our kids. Sharing stories with them that have meaningful messages, helps us teach them behaviors that they should aim to emulate and teaches them valuable lessons about virtues like kindness, honesty, compassion, and much more. If the story has a moral, you can ask your child to identify what they think it is, and discuss why it is important.
- Builds problem-solving skills – Stories can help children to understand and learn to tackle problems that they have not yet encountered in real life. You can proactively cultivate problem solving through storytelling sessions by encouraging your child to co-create the story, and suggest different actions that the protagonist can choose. This can trigger conversations about consequences: what will the outcome be now with this new twist? What can I learn from this and how can I apply it to my life?
- Makes learning fun – Sharing stories with your child in a relaxed environment is a great way to make learning seem natural and easy, and associate positive memories with learning.