Storytelling based on folktales is a timeless way of teaching children the consequences of good and bad decisions as well as imparting morals and values. So if you want your child to embrace such concepts as generosity, compassion and responsibility then skip the lecture and cloak your sermon in the guise of a tale. It will be much more readily swallowed.

"Stories teach with images and narration rather than fact," says storyteller Peninnah Schram. "These are the lessons that stay with us forever and get passed down from generation to generation. And, when we need to recall these lessons, we dip into the story as the well of wisdom, the wisdom of the ages."

Stories go a long way in supporting your child's cognitive and emotional development. Listening to a story can allow a child to vicariously encounter frightening or difficult situations and process their fears in a safe environment, says Diane de Las Casas.

Bonding: Story time is a wonderful way for parents (and grandparents) to connect with their children and share a piece of their family history, leaving children with a legacy of memories and a sense of identity. If a parent interests a child in a story, the child focuses on the parent as a real person with interesting things to say. Having fun together through storytelling requires no money, and promotes a close relationship because, rather than concentrating on an amusement ride or video machine, the parent and child are focusing on each other.

Storytelling is a special time, a time when your attention is focused solely on your child. Whether you are telling a folktale, reliving a family drama or making up a bedtime story, your child will have special memories of your together time.


TIPS FOR TELLING STORIES
Easier read than said? Remember that we are all storytellers -- it's the way we naturally communicate. You tell your in-laws about the things your child does. You tell your friends about your weekend events. These are all stories to share. Your audience is forgiving and loving and any attempts to tell, however wobbly in the beginning, will be met with enjoyment and wonder.

The easiest way to begin is to make up stories starring your own child. For the very young, a simple plot-line that recounts the day from good morning kisses to bedtime lullaby is a winner.

Tell me about the time… Children love to hear about their parents when they were young. Having a hard time remembering that far back?...  Who was your best friend? Did you have a secret hiding place? What was the bravest thing you ever did? How did you get your nickname? Or, try starting with: "Once, when Grandma wasn't looking..." or, "I'll never forget the day..."



BONDING WITH YOUR CHILD THROUGH STORYTELLING

is a 2-hour workshop for parents which I have run for primary schools (often under the Dads For Life programme), for the NLB’s 10,000+ Fathers Reading campaign, for the wives of the Gurkha Regiment …). Practical, fun, inspiring!

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My newest video offers parents a highly practical and entertaining insight into how to tell stories to your kids - not just to put them to bed, but as a means to

This video – almost 2 hours long – also contains 15 stories.

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