Young children are extremely susceptible to the environment in which they live, so it is absolutely essential for them to learn the coping skills needed to successfully handle the challenges they will be facing on a daily basis. These children may face emotional and social problems like bullying, death in the family, prejudice, etc. There are many ways to develop these types of coping skills, however, there is one method that is tried and tested for centuries – Storytelling.
Storytelling is a timeless tool for teaching and learning. By telling tales, we can guide children and make them understand right from wrong, not through direct teaching, but through implication. It encourages them to think about possible solutions to problems and help them develop problem solving skills to address any challenging situation they encounter.
Stories can help children examine the advantages and disadvantages of various solutions. Many childhood stories not only help teach right from wrong, but they also provide ideas about everyday decisions and their consequences. Take the story about “The Ants and The Grasshopper” as an example. This story teaches children that there is a time to play, a time to work, and, that one must look ahead to future consequences and not just rely on the pleasures of the present moment.
Through stories, children can explore their thoughts and feelings. It helps them picture themselves in the shoes of the characters in the stories, and thus, it helps builds empathy. Stories can also help children discover in a safe environment that bad things happen to everyone. Furthermore, stories can help build good character traits in children. A good example of this is the story about “The Tortoise and The Hare”. This story illustrates to children that patience and perseverance are successful character traits to possess.
Of course, for a story to be effective, it has to be entertaining first so it can capture the attention of the child. It must use language familiar to children that is realistic in terms of their life experience; and it must have relatable characters.
Remember that stories are not just for entertainment. It can be used as a tool to develop your child so that he/she can face the challenges ahead. Through stories, children can understand that they are not alone when they encounter problems.