The influence of stories on children's lives is very big. Through topics that deal with friendship, family and interpersonal relations, stories stimulate children's socioemotional development. They also have a major influence on speech development because they enrich children’s vocabulary and communication skills. And what is the most relatable for children, stories encourage the development of imagination and playing.
Parents who read or tell stories to their children form a stronger emotional bond with them. Children on the other hand practice memory, form their own opinions and make conclusions easier. They can also recognize their emotions and the emotions of other people better. Parents and children develop mutual understanding through stories, and children develop a positive attitude towards reading.
Telling or reading?
Reading stories, just like storytelling, has its advantages, and it's the best for parents to practice both. With storytelling, parents can choose topics, keep the contact with the child because it's not necessary to follow the text, and mimic various emotions from the story. Also, the parent can follow the interests of the child or tell a story that is currently relevant. Reading stories is also important because the child gets a chance to follow the text with the parent, and create images with the help from the illustrations from the book.
Christmas time is very inspirational for storytelling. It is a time when generosity and good deeds become a part of the everyday life. Your child can really benefit from hearing stories with such topics – especially because of the messages that Christmas stories carry.
How to tell a good Christmas story?
We suggest that you read or tell your child a Christmas story every day before Christmas. The topics should be those about love, giving and sharing, peace, kindness and good deeds. Stress the importance of messages of kindness and generosity. Tell your child a Christmas story every day ten days before Christmas and suggest to think of the last one together. Make sure to throw in a lot of details when telling a story so that your child can memorize them and use them for a story that you’re going to think of together. The same characters should appear in different stories so that your child can get to know them better. Use short and simple sentences and include your child in the stories too. After every story talk to your child to see if he or she understands the message. Tell your child to comment on the story and tell you how he or she would act in a similar situation. Talk about your favorite characters.
Follow-up with some crafts
If your child’s interest is still big, you can make characters from your stories together. Make figurines from various materials that you have at home. In this way the activity will be prolonged and your child's focus and concentration will strengthen. You can reenact the story with the characters that you made together – in this way your child will get a chance to tell his or her version of the story. Maybe you will see some parts or characters missing. The figurines can also be a motivation for playing. They will be a nice reminder of the story that can be told over and over.
Sharing is caring
When the time comes for the story that you will think of together, your child can tell it to the other family members. Help your child with storytelling by asking questions. You can also give some ideas, but don't limit your child’s imagination. Ask about clarifications and encourage detailed description of characters and events. Listen very carefully and praise your child's storytelling. When the story is told, reward your child with a smile and applause, and discuss the story further. Try to think of the message together. You can also write down the story and read it to your child. This will be a good motivation for other stories, and the inspiration will grow with every single one.