How can children learn from storytelling, and what can parents do to support learning at home? Today, we’re answering these questions and giving you three ways to make storytelling a part of your family’s daily routine.
It may sound obvious, but it’s true: children love a good story. Whether you’re recounting an adventure you had when you were little, reading them a good book before bed, or watching a favorite movie or show, children are captivated by storytelling.
Even Albert Einstein said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be really intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Although the research may not have been present back then, Einstein was onto something.
Today, studies show storytelling is one of the better ways to help children learn about themselves and the world around them. A great story can teach children about feelings, speech and language, cultures, morals, values, and so much more.
While storytelling has always been an integral part of preserving and passing on cultural knowledge, it’s amazing how it has transformed over the last 30,000 years—especially in the last 10! Now stories are shared on Tiktok and Instagram, which goes to show they have a long history of engaging us and helping us feel connected to one another.
3 Tips To Bring More Storytelling Into Your Child’s LifeTip #1: Make Storytelling a Part of Your Daily Routine
When we add something to our daily routine, it becomes part of the natural rhythm of the day, making it easier to remember and implement. While bedtime is a typical window for reading and telling stories, there may be other times that work better for your lifestyle or schedule. And if reading is too challenging to integrate into your daily routine, try educational shows, podcasts, and music! Just pick a consistent time to tune in. That will help your children know what to expect and accept screen-time limits.
Try this: Children often ask us questions that lead to important storytelling moments. If a child asks, “Why are they tearing down that building?” or “why do squirrels live in the city?” we can respond to those questions in narrative form. This is a great way to help children learn about the world around them.
Tip #2: Intentionally Choose Your Stories
Some stories support learning more than others, and some may be more aligned to your family’s values and what you want to teach. What you choose to let your child watch or read is just as important as what you choose to not let them consume. Ask yourself why the story feels important to you and try your best to be intentional with your selection.
Try this: Preview shows before your kids watch them! Websites like Common Sense Media lets you see parent and child reviews for many shows and books. Asking advice from professionals or experts you trust can also be a great way to get good recommendations for stories, shows, and books that support children’s learning.
As an educator and therapist, we of course recommend the Slumberkins Apple Original Series as a great way to introduce children ages 3-6 to concepts like friendship, confidence, and connection. Created in partnership with The Jim Henson Company, the series offers enriching stories that help children name, notice, and welcome all of their feelings. (And it might even heal a parent’s inner child!)
Tip #3: Talk About the Stories Afterward
Debriefing and reflecting on the story can help children gain critical thinking skills and apply the learning outside of the show or book. Critical thinking skills empower children to think for themselves and evaluate what they are learning.
Try this: Connect with your child by recapping the stories, retelling them, or bonding over your reactions! If you’re reading or watching Slumberkins stories, we created caregiver resources, along with an Episode Guide, to support you in initiating valuable conversations with your child.
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