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Story telling tips

What works in telling stories to your child?

As a mother I struggled to engage my young ones in stories for their favorite routine before going to bed was watching an animated video on youtube.

As I was reading about the prils of excessive exposure of digital gadegts on children; I particularly got horrified of its impact on imagination. Science has a cure for a weak eye sight but nothing can substitute weak imagination. Mothers as harbinger of life skills in her offspring has deeper responsibility here. With child birth not only the physical & work responsibilities increase but there is a lot more pressure on mental and emotional faculties. 

Here are a few tips that would help you to navigate the arduous task of story telling to your young ones!

  1. Express with emotions:

Reading out or narration of the story  require the story teller to be emotive and expressive. “Little red riding hood got scared of the big bad wolf” – the storyteller need to express the correct emotion, hence the voice should depict scariness.

“The little pig was relieved to see to see wolf ran away” The voice should be calm and assuring.  

Getting the expression to the voice is easier said than done! As an easy way to get the correct expression csn be achieved by practicing in front of a mirror. Look into the mirror, observe your face, think of an emotion…..Choose being…

  • Fearful
  • Joyous
  • Happy
  • Disappointed
  • Excited
  • Upset
  • Jealous
  • Sad 

And emote! Practice till the time the person in the mirror matches your chosen emotions!

  1. Different strokes for different folks: 

Use different pitches of voice to project different characters in a story. The different tones of your voice will help children segregate the characters and build images of the characters early on in the story.  Besides, its a good opportunity for you to wear your mimicry hat and imitate your favorite relative, colleague or neighbor! 

  1. Adjectives of imagination

Children, while listening, weave their own story board. The more adjectives a story teller uses, the more vivid the story becomes. We as adults, have the habit of reading out as-is from the book but it will be worth awhile to add your adjectives for example a simple text:

Once upon a time there was a rabbit which lived under a banyan tree.

Can be retold as “ Once upon a time, a small little rabbit with white and soft fur, lived in the burrow of a big old banyan tree.”

  1. Punctuate your speech

A period/full stop means a pause and a comma means a “little” pause. The young listeners use these verbal punctuations to build effect in their story. It boosts their mental narrative. A colon : would mean emphasis on the phrase. An exclamation mark ! is an indication to be dramatic or excited! And a sentence with question mark should sound like a question, isn’t it?

  1. Beginning of the ending

For children up to 6 years, funny and happy ending stories work wonders. 2-6 years is the age where child rapidly builds his/her vocabulary and expression through observance and listening, stories help a lot with these. This age group likes reassurance and positive affirmations. The end of the story provides the child with the belief that “in the end” all are happy. The message ‘I am happy, I am safe’, helps build their character, makes them resilient and raise their confidence. 

Last but not the lease! Do not forget to kiss, close and snuggle together with your loved one, while he/she is engulfed in the world of vivid imagination!