Storytelling is a form of communication that humans have been using to pass on traditions, legends, historic events and to entertain others for thousands of years. It's a way to tell stories in the oral tradition. There's a reason that the art of storytelling is still alive, even with the meteoric rise in the popularity of electronics. People, especially children, love a good story, and as parents, we can teach our children about their world, about their history and about things that are important to us in a way that draws us closer and makes us want to learn more.
So, here are our Top Ways to Engage Children in Storytelling because we think storytelling is pretty spectacular.
SHARE STORIES WITH CHILDREN THEY CAN RELATE TO
We agree that the number one thing to keep in mind when you share stories with your children is that you share stories that your children can relate to. Children LOVE to hear stories about themselves when they were little. Start your storytelling adventures with stories about them and then branch out to stories about yourself, their grandparents, their ancestors, etc.
SHARE EXCITING STORIES WITH CHILDREN ABOUT THEIR ANCESTORS
A great way to get children to draw connections between the past and the present is to research and share stories about their ancestors. Research an ancestor that did something exciting or lived during a time period that is interesting to your child. Talk about ways that life was both different and the same.
Make the story of their life "come to life" so that they can see that people in their family tree are not just names, but real people with real stories, just like they are.
USE VOCAL INFLECTION AND LITERARY DEVICES TO ADD TO YOUR STORY
Telling a story in an animated way is difficult for many people.
It can be uncomfortable to use vocal inflections and make stories super interesting, but it's worth it. Using vocal inflections and an animated demeanor while storytelling sends the message to children that you are invested in the story and that it's exciting. It makes them want to listen to it because if you are that excited, it MUST be good. It's also a great way to play around with literary devices. Consider rhyming words or throw in a poem. As you story tell more, think about the structure of your story and provide a plot, a problem to resolve and a conclusion.
HAVE YOUR CHILDREN TRY THEIR HAND AND STORYTELLING
Let your children try their hand at storytelling and as the parent practice being a captive audience. They'll appreciate your undivided attention and they'll learn in the process. Their memory will be sharpened, their imagination will be utilized, they'll be able to work on their vocal inflection and animation but most of all, they'll be able to connect with you. Here's are some storytelling prompts that are really helpful.
TAKE YOUR CHILDREN TO SEE STORYTELLERS
Check at your local library, theater, college or bookstore for events that feature storytellers.
Storytelling is such a wonderful way to make lasting connections with your children.
Storytelling is so "telling" because it offers the storyteller a way to impart what's important to them to their audience. You can even use it to teach them! Go tell a story. We dare you. (smiling) Oh, and don't forget a healthy snack!