In a world that is becoming more and more digital, it is more important than ever to emphasise how important stories are in a child’s development. Computers and tablets are great in many ways. However, they can never and should never replace that special moment when you snuggle up with a good old-fashioned book.
Children have so much to learn about themselves and the world around them. Stories are powerful tools that communicate different messages and concepts and also provide children with opportunities to process thoughts and feelings that can sometimes become overwhelming.
- Managing feelings
Children have so many big emotions to process and navigate. Relating to characters in stories can really help little ones to make sense of different feelings and situations. It also helps them to realise that they are not alone.
- Languages & communication
We all speak to our children every day but the language we use can be repetitive and limited. Stories ensure that children hear different vocabulary from a range of themes that they wouldn’t necessarily hear in day-to-day life.
- Listening & concentration
At first, when reading to children they may want to fidget, turn pages before you have finished reading them or even swap books every 5 seconds! However, by consistently having story time, they will develop their ability to concentrate and to sit still for longer periods of time.
Self-awareness is one of the most important traits a person can have. The ability to understand yourself, your place in the world and how you impact and react to others can shape your path, your relationships and your general happiness. Stories allow children to gain an understanding of different concepts and relate them to their own life and behaviour. As well as reading to children, it is important to spend time talking about different characters and scenes in the book. This allows them to process information and gain an understanding of their own thoughts, feelings and actions.
- Imagination & empathy
Storybooks are an amazing way to develop imagination and empathy because they allow children to transport themselves into another world or situation and to identify with concepts that are not necessarily a part of their own reality. Asking children to guess what happens next, what a character is doing or how they think they might be feeling can help to develo these two important qualities. A child will only ever achieve what their mind allows them to visualise first, which is why developing imagination is crucial. The ability to empathise with others will also impact their relationships and will help them to be kinder to others, which will also take them far in life.
- Reading for success
Reading to children from early infancy contributes to how well they perform in school. Studies show that when children are read to, certain parts of the brain are affected and this has a lasting impact on language, literacy and early reading skills.
- Attachment and bonding
One of the most important things you can give to children is your time. Reading stories together gives you a great opportunity to spend one-on-one time on a regular basis. Not only reading the story but also talking about the characters and truly listening to what children have to say will have a big impact. Not only will it make children feel valued, which will build self-esteem, but it will also strengthen your bond, which will give them a sense of safety and security.
As you can see there are so many reasons that story time is important in a child’s development. We all want to give children the best start in life and by simply reading to them every day we can help to create a strong foundation for their future. Who wouldn’t want to give children the gift of knowledge, empathy, self-awareness and self-esteem? A simple story a day can do just that!
About the author
Stacey Kelly is a former teacher, a parent to 2 beautiful babies and the founder of Early Years Story Box, which is a subscription website providing children’s storybooks and early years resources. She is passionate about building children’s imagination, creativity and self-belief and about creating awareness of the impact that the Early Years have on a child’s future. Stacey loves her role as a writer, illustrator and public speaker and believes in the power of personal development. She is also on a mission to empower children to live a life full of happiness and fulfilment, which is why she launched the #ThankYouOaky Gratitude Movement.
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