Why is storytelling important?
Telling a story is about sharing and connecting with your child, a way for you to show them your world, to imagine possibilities and a way for you to imagine possibilities and worlds of your own. It is a way for a child to articulate views and ideas, to give voice to their imagination. Storytelling improves language and reasoning and develops emotional awareness. Most of all it draws tellers and listeners close.
Isn’t it hard, telling stories?
No, everyone knows a story: simple fairy stories, such as Goldilocks and The Three Bears, Red Riding Hood; Jataka tales, stories from the Bible, stories about your childhood or family members. The stories do not need to be perfectly recalled or perfectly told, your child will enjoy being the focus of your attention. But better still, make up a story of your own!
Isn’t making up stories even harder?
Making a unique story for your child makes you consider them uniquely. A story can reveal your child’s tastes and pleasures: a preferred style of dress for a fairy queen, a suggested alternative ending, a different goal for the main character to strive for. A story can address changes that may loom darkly for a child: moving house, death, illness, partings. Also your child will often contribute to your story making, so making up a story with your child can be surprisingly easy!
Won’t my child prefer me to read them a story by a published author?
Reading together is wonderful, but without a book, there is just you and your listener(s), stepping into the story world. Your eyes are free to meet, your hands to hug, hold and make theatrical gestures. And without pictures, your child is free to envision people and worlds of their own – as can you, the Storyteller.
“When we make a story for someone, we give them the gift of our imagination.”
Aren’t stories just for bedtime?
Bedtime stories are very cosy and intimate but a story can be told at any time. They can help to pass the time when waiting for things, diffuse tensions in difficult situations and even keep a child still when giving them a bath!
“Telling stories encourages family members to laugh together and relate to each other.”
But isn’t it exhausting?
No, curiously, making up stories is restorative, creating a nurturing space for both the listener and teller where you can be totally present with your child while being transported into the private realms of your own imagination. A story allows you both the freedom to remain apart even while entering together, into the world of its words.