6 ways storytelling can help children understanding grown-up issues
Storytelling… it’s been around for ages! And yet, for some reasons we do not use it that often anymore. In ancient times and until the Middle Ages, storytelling was used to explain simple situations to the people (the majority was not able to read at that time). In modern days it seems that a lot of people do lack the time to enjoy or invent a good story and that is a real pity, since there are almost only benefits to good storytelling. One of these benefits is helping children to understand grown-up issues.
1. Storytelling helps us shape our thinking: While children may not be fully able to know the difference between wrong and right, telling stories can help guide them through certain situations.
2. Like dreams, storytelling helps us to process things: They say that we dream to process the events that happened during the day, well… storytelling can be used in the same way. Through metaphors we are able to explain difficult situations to the child. Metaphors can be less harsh then reality, and that brings us to the next point…
3. Limit the information: avoid information overload. Children are easily distracted and will lose attention if there’s too much information.
4. Keep it simple to protect their innocence: as difficult as the situation may seem, most of the times it can be explained through a simple story. Offer them a balanced explanation whilst letting them enjoy their innocence.
5. Relating to existing experiences: try to relate the events in the story to real life events, lived by the child. For example if you found a little bird that lost it’s parents, you can tell a story about that while incorporating events from the real life situation.
6. Let the child participate in the story: the power of being a listener and a teller builds empathy and engagement. This will create a greater impact (and hopefully also a feeling of well-being)
Every child that had a loving parent telling them stories still remembers this fondly as an adult. Storytelling has always been a way to understand things better, to make life easier in certain ways, whether if it’s for children or grown-ups… everyone can benefit from them.