One of the responsibilities of parenting is to mold our children to have good character traits. As a parent, I realized that this is not an easy task. Is there a magic we can tap during the times our child would not listen to us? How can we tell them that what they did was wrong without breaking their hearts? How can we reinforce a certain value? This task is something we cannot delegate to others. Molding good character traits in our children is a huge task and sometimes we may even lose patience. On top of all our responsibilities such as taking care of our children’s needs, household chores, work, and other endless concerns we face daily, we may sometimes feel inadequate as a parent.
A simple and effective technique to help mold good character traits is by reading stories. The magic of stories can impact a child.
The Magic of Stories: Four Reasons Why Using Stories Can Be “Magical”
1. A child does not feel threatened that mommy or daddy is reprimanding him if we say our point through story form.
Say for example, instead of telling a child over and over again that he should clean-up his mess, look for a story about the value of cleaning up or packing away his toys after play.
He would not feel that it is another “lecture”. When he feels that he is being “lectured”, the child has a tendency to shut down and pretend that he did not hear anything. Instead, we can discuss an issue in a non-threatening way through stories. Through stories, we can focus on discussing solutions to a problem instead of an outright lecture or putting the child on the spot. Cross and Cross (1978) revealed in their studies that listening to stories may change children’s social attitudes. However, among young children discussing the story intensifies attitude change. Listening to stories may change children’s attitudes.
2. Stories can help mentally prepare a child.
When we use stories to teach, it allows a child to mentally prepare for various situations. For example, when we want to prepare them for the first day of school, we will read to him or her about stories that has a “first day of school” theme so that he will know what to expect when the real thing happens. Or when he is the center of the family’s attention for a long time and then there is a new baby coming, we could read books to him about families expecting a baby soon. What does each family member do then? Through discussion, we can ask him how he can help in taking care of the new baby. In this way, we could prepare him mentally on what is to come. A child gains experience through various experiences simulated by reading stories.
3. Stories are a good way to catch a child’s attention.
According to Caine (1991), a person’s brain is wired to store, organize, and access information through story form. This means that it is easier to remember what is taught if we apply it through a story. Humans crave stories. A child will most likely remember what we said if we say it in story form rather by just reprimanding him and telling him not to do this or that.
4. Stories allow for critical thinking.
We can also ask questions to explore the emotions and behaviors of the characters. Teach your child to be creative by thinking of solutions in the story. Stories have been used as a strategy to share an idea among children. It can also be a tool to find out a child’s thoughts and emotions (Cattanach, 1997).
In summary, reading stories to your child daily can strengthen a parent-child bond. The magic of stories can be used to help mold a child’s character. Start using the magic of stories in your home tonight. Get a book and read your child a story today.
You may also be interested on How to Spark Your Child’s Interest In Art and Writing.
Caine, R. 1994. Making Connections. Teaching and the Human Brain. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, VA. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED335141
Cattanach, A. 1997. Children’s Stories in Play Therapy. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. https://books.google.com.ph/books/about/Children_s_Stories_in_Play_Therapy.html?id=XVURW6hwcY8C&redir_esc=y
Cross. 1978. Listening to stories may change children’s attitudes. The Reading Teacher. Vol.31., No.6. (Mar 1978), pp. 659-663. International Literacy Association.