When we consider how our civilizations have been built and slowly matured, stories keep having a position of prominence in our way of life. Why? Stories are a way of passing down lessons, history, education, and valuable information about the ins and outs of society.
This is why even though there are many people who have no belief in God, they still find stories in the Bible or other holy books, very useful. As parents, it’s our duty to take on this mindset when it comes to the education and raising of our kids.
Children should be introduced to stories in many different ways. Not only will this give them a great education and a love for reading, but it will give them some important lessons about life and what is expected of them. If you need deeper convincing, we have compiled an entertaining list of reasons why stories are so important for parents and children.
Universal lessons of life
The reason why ancient stories are still told today is not that people want to gauge themselves on fantasy. No, they actually have meaningful lessons to give. Take, for example, Noah’s Ark, this story isn’t about God’s wrath, or even caring for animals. It’s all about preparation for a rainy day.
He was the only person in the world who was told about the incoming flood, through divine intervention. However, what he did about it was incredibly smart. He began to gather resources, and day by day, he started to pile up wooden planks, nails, cloth for the sail and food, provisions, etc.
He then got in the ship along with two of each animal. Many people laughed at him and told him he was crazy. Yet, his day came and he was safe while others were vanquished by the flood.
What does this mean? Explain to your children that rainy days are rare, but they eventually do make themselves felt in everyday life! A rainy day could be a financial crash, some kind of physical injury, or perhaps a divorce.
In the modern-day, you would be Noah, if you saved your money every month into an ISA, or bought property or perhaps, learned about first aid in case you were injured badly. This kind of story has universal appeal and that’s why there’s some variation of Noah’s Ark, told in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, etc.
Experience and creation
Stories are lessons and in this regard, they give us lessons about life and what it means to be human, even without experiencing the events in the plots themselves. A wise man will learn from the mistakes of others, a fool will pay no heed and land in the puddle themselves!
However, reading is not something that every child takes up naturally. They would rather play with their toys and friends. As a parent, you will have more success if you follow some of the best pre-reading strategies for kids.
For example, show them a film of the book you’re going to read to them or are asking them to read. Whether it’s an animation or a feature film, allow them to watch it and take in the story, characters, location, time period, style, themes, etc. Then, ask them to write an additional chapter to this story, anywhere they like in the plot. This could be changing the ending, the beginning, or the middle.
Once they have experienced the lessons, they are now creating their own version of those lessons. This is a classic technique for taking command of something that is new and perhaps confusing.
They are playing a central role in their own learning and getting to grips with the words, pace, themes, plot, and style of writing. When you have done this with them, give them the original book of the story and read it through together.
Feeding kids’ imagination
Children with great imaginations have skills they can use later on in life when it comes to problem-solving. This is very useful in careers and professions such as politics, law, business, psychology, and professional advisor roles. But the only way they are going to develop a great imagination is if you begin to feed it at a young age. How do parents do this?
- Read to them!! We cannot stress this enough. Parents must read to their children. Get into the books you’re reading. Play the characters, do the silly voices, explain to them what’s going on every so often, and let them ask questions the further you progress.
- Ask them to pick out a book for the week! Every week, take them to the library or buy ebooks online and read it with them. This means they get to choose a book every week and they are in charge of what type of story they read.
- Draw pictures to books that don’t have pictures! Parents can read a full page of a book that they have completed together and then, draw a picture using the descriptions, settings, and events that are happening on the page. It gets kids to think about what they’re reading and visualize it more clearly.
- Go to children’s reading clubs at school or around the neighborhood. You don’t have to make it a regular occurrence if you’re too busy, but try to go once a fortnight.
Improving kids’ cognitive faculties
The somewhat basic task of reading is actually very complex when we look at it from a psychological and cognitive viewpoint. The child will need to remember and ‘keep up’ with the story. So they will need to remember what a character likes or dislikes, where they are, and understand the social contract that is appearing in the theme.
For example, many children’s books have kings and queens. They will understand what a king is in his role, i.e. someone who has the responsibility to keep the land from the clutches of war, protect his people and improve the health and wealth of his people.
The role of the queen will be very similar, but it’s to help the king in his role and be supportive. This kind of social hierarchy is learned very early on and will help them to understand the wider society.
Moments of love and joy
One day, you’re going to be reminded of the care you took with your child, by the child themselves. You’re going to be judged on your parenting skills and attentiveness one day. No parent can ever shirk that day of judgment.
It may come early on in your life or it could be far down the road. However, one day your children are going to reminisce about their time with you when they were young. Don’t you want to have fond memories that were about love, joy, and caring?
Something so easy and simple and showing them how to read, how to absorb the information they’re reading, and how to process it into verbal or visual communication, is not just a life skill, but a moment of infinite bonding.
It may not seem like a big deal right now, because they’re young. One day they will be adults themselves and look back on their early life. Give them no room for doubt, that you were an extremely dedicated and loving parent.
Parents, you need to gather as much enthusiasm as you can, and take reading to and with your children much more seriously from now on! It’s something that will hold your kids in good stead throughout their whole lives and it begins with a simple turn of the page.