When my brother and I were little, our mum would snuggle up next to us and say: “All right, tell me a story.”
The tales we told her were probably thin versions of whatever picture book or early learning story we were reading at the time.
But what seemed like just a game to us was really a fantastic learning opportunity. She was teaching us to translate the information and knowledge we had picked up throughout the day into words.
Put simply, she was training us to be creative thinkers.
As an adult, I now realise that there is no better preparation for school, career or life in general than learning to tell stories as a child. Here are some of the benefits:
Developing and enhancing creativity. Creativity is like a muscle—you have to use it to strengthen it and keep it strong. Small children are imagination machines. Encouraging them to tell stories teaches them to harness that imagination.
Encouraging language development. Telling stories helps a child develop language and vocabulary. The more they practice and the more they explore words, the more confidently they will be able to put their thoughts into sentences.
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Building confidence and self-esteem. Children require reassurance and confidence as they take the path to independence. Being able to invent their own stories and discovering that their ideas count is a wonderful boost to their self-esteem.
Encouraging a love of words, language and reading. Nothing serves a child better than a love of words, language and reading. For the rest of their lives they will be rewarded and enriched.
So how do you get your child to start telling his or her own stories? Here are a few tips:
- Incorporate story-time into your daily routine. Start by telling your child a story and then ask them to tell you one.
- Give prompts. If your child is struggling to come up with an idea, don’t be afraid to give prompts or suggestions.
- Ask them to elaborate. Be engaged with your child’s story—ask about the characters, their feelings, their motivations, their actions.
- Make it fun! This shouldn’t be a chore; it should be your child’s favourite part of the day. Get started today!
This guest post was contributed by Young Authors, who believe in fostering and cherishing children’s creativity and imagination. Check out more of their articles on their blog.