Storytelling encourages and stirs a child’s imagination, while also calming their bodies. The wonderful thing about storytelling is the endless possibilities and adventures that can be created with your words and in a child’s mind. This magical listening experience keeps children entertained in a smart, screen-free way! (I know we are always looking for those!) And while you might not see yourself as a natural storyteller, children can be our least discerning of audiences, often captivated by the simplest or silliest of stories. Here are some tips to bring out the storyteller in yourself:
1. Make your child the lead or best supporting actor in the story! Maybe your story starts with your child and her favorite super-dog, Bugsy. Children get a kick out of imagining themselves or the characters they know in the story.
2. Keep it simple. Story-time is often used for the purpose of unwind or signaling bedtime. Your stories can be a single event or account but just make sure to give a few details that children are familiar with like color, shape, or animal. “Once upon a time there was a happy purple fish named Bob. He was very hungry so he went the the market to buy some food. That is when he bumped into a goldfish named Shirley. She was new to town. Bob and Shirley became great friends.” That simple!
3. If fantasy doesn’t fly off your tongue, use stories you already know or possibly non-fiction from your own life or family! If the Three Little Bears is the story you know best, tell it! Children love familiarity and being able to predict and know what happens next.
4. Ask your child to participate—filling in details or deciding what happened next! Did the Unicorn go into the forest or to the mall? This is opportunity to encourage their creativity or confidence.
So next time find yourself with your little one in quiet waiting room, or a too long airplane, or bedside, tell a story!