Importance Of Storytelling In Child Development
Even in the digital era, storytelling plays a vital role for children in learning and understanding the world around them.
From the time the earliest Homo sapiens etched out their hunting adventures on the walls of the caves they lived in, storytelling has been woven into the very fabric of human culture. Not every culture that’s existed has been literate, but every single culture that’s existed has had its own stories. Perhaps that explains its universal nature. It’s a human trait that simply, endures.
Even today, in the digital hotchpotch that is the 21st century, storytelling plays a vital role. In fact, some would argue that it’s never been more vital. With an explosion in screen time and online content consumption for our children, there’s never been a more pressing time to engage them with a good ol’ fashioned paperback.
And if you need a little more persuasion as to just how beneficial storytelling is for children, read on.
Make sense of the world
As far as cultural empathy goes, stories are probably one of the most effective ways to enable our children to get an understanding of our world and the diversity in it. They get introduced to new countries, cultures, customs and people through stories. They develop an appreciation and understanding for things that they may not be familiar with, making them more cognizant of the world they live in.
The biggest drawback of consuming stories on screens is that it limits imagination. The story is, literally, playing out scene by scene. When you read to a child, there’s no screen playing ready scenes; it’s their minds doing all the work. Their mind is creating a fluid world that embraces the storyline, that chops and changes as they please. Stories fire up imaginations and sow the first seeds of creativity.
Attention spans and children simply do not get along. Their minds wander everywhere and nowhere, all at once. Stories, however, force children to focus. They keep them hooked. Their wandering minds are somewhat shackled by their curiosity to know what happens next in the story. You’re getting them to listen longer and listen better.
Stories help children communicate better. They ask what they don’t understand, they voice their opinions on the actions of the characters, they may even come up with alternate versions of the storyline. All this makes them better equipped to express and crystallise their thoughts and gets them to be able to express themselves more clearly.
An introduction to Perspectives
When storytelling is told to a group of children, it introduces them to a diversity of thought. They realise everyone has their own take, their own interpretations and their own perspectives on the exact same topic. It’s no more a monopoly of their thoughts. They learn to listen and respect the opinion of others, even when it may be poles apart from their own.
The greatest Bonding Experience (ever)
There’s nothing that’s as special as storytime. The wide-eyed wonder, half open mouths and even chortles and giggles as you go page by page into this world of limitless possibilities makes this an unforgettable bonding experience. It’s you, child and book. No screens, no interruptions, no popup ads.
So make storytelling a ritual. If not for the umpteen benefits, then to at least enjoy the perfect way to brighten up your day. Or wind it down. Make it your ‘thing’ with your child.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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