Storytelling is a wonderful way to connect with your child. Through stories you can weave lessons about your family’s values, while also enhancing listening skills and delighting your child’s natural curiosity and imagination.
Chances are you have already told your kids stories about when you were a child. If your kids are like mine, they probably never tire of hearing about some of the difficulties you experienced or the funny situations you got yourself into.
Here are a few ways to introduce storytelling into your child’s life.
Display old photos. Integrate a few old photos or paintings of your grandparents or family ancestors into your home decor or pull out the family photo album. (Remember those?!) These photos invite curious youngsters to listen to stories about the family members who were previously just names that dotted the family tree. Share funny anecdotes or any stories of the struggles your relatives overcame during a time when life didn’t have all of the modern conveniences we enjoy now.
Story Cubes. Roll the dice and make up a story. An inexpensive game called Rory’s Story Cubes gives kids and adults the opportunity to practice their improvisational storytelling chops. Arranging the dice into a storytelling line, also helps kids think about the order of the story that they tell.
Picture this. Sitting side by side or around the kitchen table each person draws a picture or cuts a photo out of a magazine. Next, set a timer for up to 5 minutes. Each person writes a story about his or her picture. When the timer goes off, everyone stops and reads what they wrote. No critiquing or worrying about achieving perfection. Take it from me, there is no such thing as a perfect first draft. This is only for fun! *If your child is too young to write, have her draw a picture and tell a story about it.
Circle story. Stuck on a long car trip or winding down at bedtime? Start telling a story. Either make one up or start with a real event. Ask your child to add to it. Take turns until you come to the end. Kids love considering what-ifs. This technique offers a good opportunity to imagine a what-if no matter how outrageous!
Replay. Sometimes books don’t end the way we’d like them to. Ask your child how she would re-invent the story if she was the author.
What are some ways you have introduced storytelling into your family’s life?