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Parents have a timeless superpower. One that requires little effort, a bit of creativity and transcends decades. It’s a power that has the ability to stick with your kids, even when you’re not there.
STORYTELLING. Your superpower.
A well told story contains the power influence.
This is the time when your children listen, REALLY listen. You can cultivate the story to provide comfort, emotional navigation and validation, perspective, reflection, education and problem-solving.
THE POWER OF A STORY
Storytelling increases the ability to remember. We are able to record events, moments and people better when we build them into a story because a story creates experience.
This is how we continue to communicate meaningful moments in time from generation to generation. When we listen to a good story we feel, see and hear so vividly that we perceive we are there, having lived that same experience.
Story time is where kids are engaged and actively listening.
This is your opportunity, seize it.
ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE
When parents tell a child how to act or what to do, a child is not in control and therefore not as engaged. From a child’s perspective, they are following an order and are more focused on the power struggle than the message.
And let’s be honest, even as an adult when you receive a lecture-type talk from another adult, how well are you really listening?
That’s where storytelling comes in. I’m not saying to eliminate the day-to-day parent orders and directives, but do not expect your child to absorb an important lesson when it comes from a place of frustration, stress or irritation.
Being a target of anger heightens emotions and confusion. Building a descriptive story creates an experience and provides an alternate perspective for the child which helps them to better understand our world of ’cause and effect.’
The science of storytelling boosts information retention which a child can then recall and implement during a real situation. If you tell a story centered around problem-solving they can then apply the same strategies to everyday challenges such as sharing toys.
The benefits storytelling will bring to your child are plentiful, but you will also reap reward.
Storytelling is part of our everyday interactions, both in work and life. Brands use stories to connect and retain customers. Our families and friends use stories in everyday conversation and gossip.
The better your storytelling skills, the greater your power to captivate, connect, motivate and lead others.
TAKE A WALK
Most weekends, we find ourselves walking, running from dragons and forever chasing pirate’s treasure.
When you’ve got nothing to do and no where to go, take a walk. Tell a story.
We walk, we hike and we tell stories. We tell stories about dinosaurs, friends, mom and dad, super heroes, the past, present and future, and our son.
This is the time to involve your child in the storytelling process. You start the story and then let him pick the characters and the event.
There are no boundaries to their imagination – embrace it and build with it.
STORYTELLING: THE HOW TO
Present a plot, a challenge and a solution. Keep it simple and tailored to your audience.
A plot is your main event. What is the story being centered around? Plot types could be: an adventure, a game, a rescue or a mystery.
The challenge is what your main character(s) work to overcome or find.
Close the storyline with a solution. How was the conflict solved? Ending the story with a positive resolution helps to teach kids that they are able to work through a problem.
Character and setting development is a great way to work in descriptive details. For example if you have a young toddler who is learning their colors, be sure to identify the colors.
Mix up real life, familiar people and places with imaginary characters and far-away lands.
Don’t forget: be silly; make your child laugh!
CAPTIVATE YOUR AUDIENCE
Become animated and use the following tips to immerse your children in the story.
- Say things like, “creeeeaaak” instead of “creak”
- Whisper when you tell a secret
- Emphasize emotion in the words
DESCRIPTIVE (AND FUNNY!) DETAILS
- The hairy, stinky dog smelled like Dad’s sweaty socks
- She screamed like Mom seeing a spider
- I was as fast as The Flash and as strong as Superman
- Clap when there’s a loud bang or crash
- Show big and small with your hands
- Pretend to lose your balance if a character slips
- Describe feelings, don’t just label them.
- Build anticipation.
- Create an underdog character that your kid will root for.
Ideas can come from real events, books or movies. Kids love to hear stories about themselves and when their parents were kids.
I pull a lot of inspiration from our favorite books:
This post was inspired by reader feedback!
I love collaborating and hearing what my readers are looking for – it builds connections, provides creative content ideas and helps bring solutions to our challenges. Don’t be shy, leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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