Storytelling has been an important part of our society since the dawn of mankind, but the purpose of storytelling has transformed significantly over the years. During the early history of mankind, storytelling was a way of keeping records of important events. Today, storytelling is often used as an essential learning tool, especially for children. Telling stories to toddlers is one of the best ways to promote their brain development, so it is highly encouraged.
Why Practice Storytelling with Toddlers?
Extensive research suggests that the more you read stories to children, the more likely they are to succeed.
Your child also benefits from learning how to tell their own stories. It can:
- Instill virtue
- Boost imagination
- Enhance communication skills
- Facilitate faster learning
- Improve social skills
- Improve listening skills
- Sharpen memory
It is one thing for children and toddlers to enjoy the experience of listening to their parents or teacher tell a story. It’s another to develop their own ability to become creative storytellers.
How to Develop Storytelling in Toddlers
Children have the natural ability to tell stories. Just pay attention when your toddler shares stories about what happened to them in school or when they play with their friends in the park. If you learn to listen to those stories, it’s fascinating how good at storytelling they are.
But while most children are natural storytellers, some require a bit more help. You can nurture that natural ability using techniques to improve storytelling for toddlers.
1. Set an Example They Can Follow
Aside from being good storytellers, toddlers are also good at imitating. Their parents and teachers are among the first few figures that they look up to. Therefore, one of the best ways to help them become good storytellers is to become one yourself.
When reading stories to them, do so with passion and creativity. Be excited by the stories you read to them so they will share the same feelings about the activity. This will help them associate storytelling with something fun, and it will be an activity that they will look forward to and love to participate in.
2. Pick Interesting Stories
One way to get toddlers to enjoy reading and telling stories is by choosing a story that is interesting. Pick one that has repetition of dialogue or chorus notes to make it easier for them to catch on to the story, even if they are from picture books. In fact, books containing only illustrations are great for a child’s brain development as it helps them to formulate their own stories from the illustrations they see. It lets their mind work and unleashes their creativity!
3. Encourage the Use of Their Hands and Body to Express Their Story
Storytelling for kids is not just about reading out words – it is a full-body sensory experience. When telling a story, you may encourage your kid to use their hands or even their entire body to express what the story is about. Encourage them to use facial expressions or to point to objects that they are referring to. The more interactive this activity is, the more fun it is for them!
4. Make it a Daily Activity
Always set aside time out of your day for storytelling with your kids. There is simply no shortcut to learning an important skill like this one.
Just as you make time each day for your child to play, you must do the same to help their storytelling skills flourish. Allowing them to tell stories every day sharpens their memory so that they can efficiently understand details and conversations that take place around them. When they know that they will be asked to share stories, they will pay more attention to the events or the people they encounter.
5. Read Stories Together
Storytelling time is a great bonding opportunity. You can make storytelling a daily activity, but make sure you do it together. This will make your child look forward to this activity and also makes them feel supported in their endeavor to learn. Telling stories will become associated with the joy they feel spending time with you.
6. Play Storytelling Games
Using games to develop a child’s storytelling abilities is another effective technique you can employ. Not only will it be more interesting for them, it also helps to keep their attention for longer.
You can start a story and then allow your child to continue it to promote their imagination and creativity.
7. Promote Child-Led Storytelling
Whether you are reading a story book or sharing stories of your own, always encourage your child to take the lead. As your child grows, they develop a sense of independence and they want to take charge.
Allowing them to lead storytelling time is a great way to promote their enthusiasm for this activity. You should also develop a sense of enthusiasm for their stories; seeing you are interested in the story will help to boost their confidence.
8. Make it Personal
Telling personal stories will help them relate to the characters better. And when they relate to the characters of their story, it is easier for them to remember and share the events that played out.
Starting with the familiar will also encourage your toddler to open up. Characters are the foundation of a good story, and your child’s ability to establish strong connections with those characters will affect how well they tell that story.
9. Take Them to Storytelling Events
Another excellent way to help nurture your child’s ability to tell stories is to participate in storytelling events organized by schools and local libraries. When kids witness other kids tell their stories, they develop a fascination for this activity. They also learn how experienced storytellers use facial expressions and body language.
10. Practice Makes Perfect
Making storytelling a part of your daily routine is also connected to practice. It is important to build the habit of storytelling in your child, but it is also important to help them practice. Like any other skill, storytelling should be practiced.
Start by letting them tell a story to you or your family. Then, gradually increase their audience so that they build their confidence and decrease any fear of public speaking. Make sure to give constructive feedback so they can improve.
Use the tips and tricks above to help develop your child’s ability to tell stories. This is a great skill for them to possess and will improve their ability to communicate, observe, and listen as they grow and develop.