Early Childhood Educators and most grandparents have long known the importance of talking, singing and reading to your toddler and young children. Even before babies are born, they can hear the sound of your voice and respond positively to stories and songs.
Sharing stories and fairy tales are one of the most enjoyable parts of parenting. Whether it is the mom, dad, grandparents or caregivers who take the time to talk and read to the child, it will be a gift.
Young children love stories and enjoy being involved either as a listener or story teller. Brain development and imagination skills are enhanced when caregivers integrate different voices, facial expressions and body gestures.
Growing Evidence on Power of Storytelling
Anecdotal evidence as well as scientific studies indicate what we have always known. Storytelling can help develop the imagination, inspire learning, teach body language and facial expressions and enhance reading skills. Plus, it is just downright fun to do.
You can tell or read bedtime stories to relax your baby and help him to have pleasant dreams. This is a ritual that helps the child recognize bedtime and anticipate the sharing and snuggling before bedtime.
Sharing Family Stories
In my volunteer work as a personal historian for Story Keepers, many people have told me the power of sharing family stories. Every child longs to belong to a tribe or community of people who love him. Hearing tales about the family roots and the past, helps the child to see where he fits in the group.
You may want to pull out old family albums, have copies made of the photos at the copy shop and put them in clear plastic protectors and put in a binder labeled "Melissa's (Your child's name) Family." As you tell the stories, have your toddler or young child point to the picture of Grandma or you as a little girl.
As your toddler or young child becomes more verbal ask her to tell you stories about herself.
Stories Connect and Teach
When reading together, allow your toddler and young child to turn the pages or even tell part of the story. Be sure to read slowly and occasionally point to the words you are reading so the child connects the spoken and written word.
Reading, talking and singing to your child will increase the brain capabilities and the size of the spirit of both the storyteller and the one who is hearing the message.
Children are young such a short time and need your involvement in their quest for imagination, character and understanding the world around them. You are the most important person in their life and I salute you for taking the time to use storytelling as one of your methods of connecting with them.