Bridge gaps by storytelling | by Huma Mir 

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Bridge gaps by storytelling

THESE days, parents have turned to the convenience offered by technology to keep their tender-age children busy or motivate them to sleep. Well, let’s admit it. It’s really easy for kids to fall asleep after watching a video or their favourite cartoons.

These things may be considered a simple pleasure of childhood but nothing compares to the beauty of storytelling by us to our kids.

As a parent and a caregiver, how much time do we spend telling stories and listening to stories with our children? Too little indeed. Storytelling plays a critical part in early childhood education (ECE) and preschoolers’ overall learning and development.

Whether it is as simple as talking about your childhood real-life experiences or sharing a funny story about your day, storytelling offers several advantages to children. Take a look at this list and learn about the benefits of storytelling for young minds.

Implants virtues: When we invest adequate time for storytelling, young kids show a keen interest in listening to these interesting stories. By doing it regularly, you are instilling virtues they can carry with them as they grow old.

Tell them stories with characters whose values they can compare and carry our stories with meaningful messages related to daily life.

Taking time to do this inculcates valuable personality characteristics in children and helps them learn about kindness, empathy, wisdom, honesty, compassion and more concepts for holistic development.

Develops listening skills: It isn’t always easy to hold a child’s attention for a longer period. Many kids find it hard to concentrate on something for an extended period. They either interfere and do more of the talking or their minds end up wandering somewhere else.

However, doing storytelling with your child can help improve their listening and concentration skills. They will become more attentive and learn how to increase their focus on a certain topic.

Fosters imagination: When children listen to a story, it makes them imagine and relate various characters, the plot, the setting, etc. It’s way different from watching something on a screen. Storytelling encourages children’s imagination to run around as the story unfolds.

They can imagine the story whatever they want it to look like in their brains. It can even enhance their creativity and critical thinking and make them open to new ideas.

Increases cultural understanding: Telling stories opens the eyes and minds of young kids to notice new things – places, cultures and traditions.

It makes them imagine being in the place of the story’s characters, which develops their feelings of kindness, honesty and empathy as they try to comprehend their actions.

Enhances communication skills: Reading and telling stories to children always improves their ability to express themselves.

It encourages them to communicate their thoughts, feelings and ideas. When doing storytelling, make sure to encourage the little brainy to ask questions or discuss their thoughts.

As we continue to indulge in a storytelling activity with the little ones, they will have a larger vocabulary bank as they pick up new words.

Sharpens memory: Storytelling is an excellent way to sharpen any child’s memory and ability to sequence events.

When we read them a story, we can do a review or ask them to recall some of the details related to the start, middle and end of the story. Ask them questions and assess how much information they have retained.

Makes learning easier: Telling stories to little preschoolers is a stepping stone for future academic learning. It’s a good way to prepare them for school because it makes learning easier and natural.

As mentioned earlier, storytelling helps increase a child’s focus and concentration which are very important as they begin attending school.

Improves social skills: Through storytelling, children learn how to pay attention and listen actively to the person talking.

By learning to be a more patient listener, improves their attention span too. It also opens their minds to other people’s thoughts and understanding how every person’s opinion varies.

Storytelling can bridge many communication gaps for young children about several new things and concepts connected with daily life and the world around them.

Telling stories to give them plenty of opportunities to learn wonderful ideas and situations they have never encountered before.

Given all the stated benefits, parents and caregivers have all the reasons to spend adequate and planned time telling stories with young minds to the fullest.

—The writer is senior educationist, based in Lahore.

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