by Georgia Lohan
Do you love cuddling up with your little ones to read them a story? As parents, we have been told how important this bonding time is with our children. It gives us time to share with them where they have our undivided attention, which is hard to come by in this busy world. It also exposes them to literacy and helps them learn pronunciations and to recognize words. Even though these are important reasons to read to your children there is another one that should not be forgotten—you can help shape your child’s world through stories.
Stories help develop the imagination
As children listen to stories they are introduced to new ideas both real and make-believe. These ideas help to open their mind and their world to new possibilities. If you ever sit back and listen to children play you will quickly notice that what they are “playing” is directly related to something they have been exposed to in life. Stories expose them to experiences that they don’t have in their daily life, therefore, helping to expand and develop their imagination. Through stories, children can learn to create silly ideas, new characters, and fantasy worlds.
Stories teach children to understand emotions
Emotions are an important part of our world. Children need to learn how to identify their own emotions. Children also need to learn to identify the emotions that others are experiencing to build empathy. When children see characters in stories dealing with different emotions they begin to learn the proper way to handle their own emotions.
Mental health is a growing problem in all ages around the world. But, our children are the ones that are seeing the largest increases in those facing mental health challenges. This is more than alarming. We can change this epidemic through reading to our children. The more they can handle their emotions properly the more it will help them as they grow and mature.
Stories teach children about other cultures
We live in a world full of diversity and it’s important that our children understand what this means. Through stories, children can learn about all the different people in the world. The world runs into problems when people don’t understand each other. We are often afraid of things we don’t understand. Children can learn through stories about people that are different than they are. This will help them to see that just because people are different it doesn’t mean they are bad.
Choose stories carefully
Not all stories are created equal. It’s important to consider which stories you are reading to your children. Choose ones that are uplifting and encouraging. Look for stories that will teach your child important life lessons through the life of fun and creative characters. Storytime should be something that your child enjoys in the present that also helps prepare them for a successful future (and remember that fun should be a part of it).