Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rediscovering the Lost Art of Storytelling with Your Children

With television, iPods, laptops and more, it seems as though the art of storytelling within the family is becoming a lost art. It’s sad, really. Think of all the times you sat perched beside an older relative, listening as stories were beautifully crafted, taking you back in the day through words, bonding.

I believe it’s still important to tell stories to our children. It helps them connect with us, and it allows our children to learn who we are and what we believe in. You don’t have to be Hans Christian Anderson to craft stories. Your child just wants to hear your voice.

Picture from Google Images

Pierce frequently asks me for the stories in my head. Often I’ll tell them during chores, which seems to make the act of picking up or cleaning more enjoyable for Pierce. Each time I tell one, he listens intently, and at the end he tells me with a big grin, “That was great!” It embraces creativity, encouraging him to explore and craft with his own mind. Here are a few tips for storytelling with your child.

1. Start with what you know. Your child will love to hear stories of your own childhood. Tell about misadventures with your cousins, fishing trips, your favorite toys as a child.

2. When branching into the unknown, start with 3 loose ideas in your head before you start telling. Then you can weave the stories around those ideas. So you might just think of 3 random objects: a boy named Sam, a canoe, a turtle. Once you have those ideas, you can start to make connections between the three.

3. Relate your story to what your child knows. What are you doing right now? Are you eating dinner? If so, you might start your story with the little boy Sam eating dinner. Maybe he’s eating the same foods as you, or maybe he’s eating pancakes shaped like canoes. Hopefully he’s not eating turtle.

4. Add a little bit of magic – maybe your canoe can fly or your turtle can talk. This brings the element of wonder into your tale.

5. Have a moral. Storytelling is your opportunity to teach your child what you believe in. Maybe Sam uses his canoe to rescue a really ugly turtle that all the other kids and animals ignored. You can teach kindness, healthy habits, equality, sharing, and more through your stories.

Give storytelling a try with your children. It can only create a stronger bond, and once they’ve gotten a taste for your creativity they’ll soon be begging for more.

20 comments:

Jane said...

Story telling is very important for children it helps to develope their imagination,sense of adventure, As well as turning into a learning experience.Great post Lisa. Blessings jane

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I need to do more of this. Having the three ideas in your head sounds like a wonderful way to preplan stories.

Nancy said...

My mother still tells many stories about her growing up to anyone who will listen... I still find it to be a bonding experience! :)

Kymberly Foster Seabolt said...

Beautifully written - and such an IMPORTANT message.

jennohara said...

very important! I remember everytime we had a family party when I was younger, my uncle would sit all of us kids down, and tell us a "ghost story". We would all be laughing histerically by the time he got to the end.
Story telling is such an important activity. Great post Lisa

texwisgirl said...

We just saw something on the Today show about the Kindle (or similar product) that would READ to your child so you don't have to. UGH!

Canyon Girl said...

I love this post. This is so important for a child and probably a mother too. I never had kids, but I loved to tell stories to those I have known over the years. Now I find myself telling them to Samson, the youngest of our dogs. Go figure.--Inger

Ginny said...

Gosh, these are excellent ideas!!! I do tell stories to the girls, but it's sometimes kind of hard to get one going, I had not thought of several of these tips and now they will make it so much easier!!! I hadn't even thought about the magic part, so my stories will now not be so boring! Thanks! You've REALLY got a handle on this!!

Valerie said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly on this! Story telling is so important. It would be sad if it did become "extinct" some day. I always told stories to Amy-and now she is a very imaginative and creative girl:)

Leontien said...

Yes! i loved your post and YES storytelling was a great part of our child hood!

I'm pretty sure if my hubby and i ever have kids were gonna tell lots and lots of stories!

Thanks
Leontien

Kim said...

It is so true. I was at the library with the kids a while ago and ran into a mom I sort of know. She said she was getting the books on CD for her girls to listen to before going to bed. I thought it was sad that she didn't even want to read them a story let alone tell them one.

Galit Breen said...

I love everything about this lady! The gentle reminder, the ready to use tips- all perfect! :)

Shell said...

What great tips! I'm not good at this- I blame it on being tired at storytime. But, really, I just need to make more of an effort.

(Florida) Girl said...

My father's storytelling had an incredible influence on me. I belive most of my passion for reading and writing come from him. What a great post.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

The gold is in the stories. And we love ours! A great prompt to get this going without "forcing" stories along is to pull out the old photo albums.

Life As I Know It said...

Yes! Story telling is wonderful. When my son was about 4 one of his favorite things to do was have us tell him a story...we made up a character with a name similar to his and each story involved a space ship landing on the roof and a special mission they'd have to complete...fun!

blueviolet said...

I always told my kids stories of my youth and theirs, but my husband told them wonderful tales of magic and adventure.

radn said...

My mother in law loves telling my daughter stories from her dads chilhood on the phone. Even though it is on the phone she is so engrossed.

Nice tips!

Beth Niquette said...

Children seem to be so excited to have stories read to them.

I sat outside on the swing with my four-year old niece reading stories. She was drinking in every word.

Of course, she loves movies--but when I read a story to her--something magical happens.

Thank you for sharing these insights!

Myya said...

What great tips for storytelling. I am a horrible storyteller. I always just go grab books, but I do love to read to my kids so we do it often. My hubby on the other hand hates reading books to the girls but can sit & tell them stories off the top of his head all the live long day.