How to tell stories to kids? Simple Tricks to teach kids lessons of life through your personal experiences and stories
“I have cried a lot to get a dozen of bangles in my childhood, and got a dozen of beatings from my father.” She was not intended to say so to her 13-year old kid. But words poured out, when she gave her opinion that school kids don’t want a cellphone. “How many times have I heard of these poverty tales! Bored and disgusting! How long she is going to repeat the same story!” – Such thoughts flashed through his mind within a fraction of time, though he didn’t express it through words. But his eyes expressed his boredom and restlessness and mother could easily read it without utterance of even a single word.
After a moment of calmness, he expressed his thoughts. “All my friends own a phone, and none of their parents have any issue with it. Then what’s the problem with my case? Why am I a sole exception?” Tears swept her eyes, and she expressed her anger as well, before she left the place.
Present day kids behave so. Whatever they desire, they should get in next moment. Otherwise they may behave indifferent. It’s not the case of kids of 20 or 30 years ago, when resources were limited and money was not spend for less useful things with ease. Old generations used to adjust with their situations, but now changes have took a long leap so much unexpected.
In most cases, parents open the ‘story windows’ of their childhood days before their kids to make them understand that such expenses could be avoided if they are willing to adjust a little bit. When you repeat the same old stories again and again, it’s nothing short of a boring story for your kids. Is it possible to deliver the good messages hidden in such old stories without boredom? How can we handle our kids with old stories using ‘magic’ or tricks? Is it possible? How can we trick them to fall into our trap without their knowledge? Through this column I shall give you a few simple tips to make your old stories interesting and how to present them nicely before your kids.
Avoid repetitions – The first step to note
While you tell stories from your personal experiences, kids will love it for the first time. But if the same story is repeated over and over, will they like it? Never! It’s the same case of a movie or television series episode. Everyone hates repetitions. Also while giving them good lessons through real stories and personal experiences you should never think that your kids should also go through same difficulties and hardships to become successful in future. You should not blame him for any reason. Otherwise your story telling process will adversely affect him, and he won’t listen to your words for the second or third time paying due respect or interest.
You should never use such situations to prove that older generations are better than newer one, or blame them for their behaviour, habits or interests. Gone moments are gone, and they are not to return. Let us accept the goodness of present, move along with it and teach good lessons to kids carrying along with us, experiences from past. When we boast on our glorious yesterdays, kids of present generation will never accept with ease.
You should note that difficulties and limitations have been associated with each phase of time, and future generations too are not excluded from it. Nothing is static or permanent. And requirements, tastes and demands may change over time.
When you start telling him a story from your experience, your kid should feel that you are well aware of his problems. Then only he shows interest in your talks and advices. You can start off telling that, ‘I too have experienced same problem of yours while I was young’. By starting off this way, you develop an invisible bond with your kid, and it well connects with his problems and troubling thoughts which trouble him from inside. While telling the stories, never give him a wrong message that you are the hero of the story and your kid, a villain.
Real talent of a storyteller
If you continuously pour in the stories of poverty and difficulties you faced in your childhood, your kid will hate it most. It may look unbelievable to him, and he may also feel that you are weaving some false stories to keep him in control. But it’s possible to tell him the stories of your miseries, but only if you present them in a positive way. While telling him the ‘bad’ stories of yesterdays, ensure yourself that you will complete it in a positive note. i.e. how you managed to get out of that difficult situation or misery with your struggles and will power. By this way, through your personal experiences, you are teaching him some of the biggest chapters of life, which are not taught in any school or university. That’s the talent of a storyteller, and it’s possible to weave positive things even from the worst matters of life, and let your personal experiences in the past guide him better.
While you are telling him a story, you should be able to connect with him better and emotionally link with him, and connect with his story/problem as well. In short, make him a part of your story. When you tell him the old stories of insults and humiliations, your child understands them better and it prompts him to strive better by his own courage and wisdom rather than relying on someone else. He may also able to understand the issues of his classmates or friends, who are going through similar difficult situations of life, and may offer a helping hand as well. Such inspirational stories can also act as positive catalyst to withstand difficult phases of life in present or distant future.
When you tell him stories….
There is no particular time to tell him your experience stories. You should be in a relaxed mood while doing so. If you are too serious, it gives an artificial effect. It should also never generate a feeling in your child that you are advising him. And above all, you should have full belief in your kid, and listen to his words carefully.
When your child comes forward with a demand, you should never tell a story as if to correct him. Instead give it a little gap. You can express it the same day evening or after two days, seeking a suitable situation. When mother is talking to the kid, father should not interfere to change the conditions worse. If so, kid may feel that parents are working together as a team to fight with him.
You should not be a ‘radio’ during the story telling process. It should be 2-way process with input from both ends. Then only it turns an effective mode of communication which yields better results. You should give chance to your kid to express his opinion. If you feel that his points have a positive angle, never hesitate to appreciate him. By doing so, you earn your kids’ appreciation, and he may listen to your words instead of sliding to hot arguments. With patience, answer to their doubts and dislikes, and make them understand the negative points as well.
Never make them bored by boasting about your ancestors or relatives
“Our ancestors produce a lot of intelligent people who reached high positions. They earned huge salaried jobs and respects in the society” – such inspirational stories are for a good cause only if you are able to communicate the positives in a better way, and plant them in your kid’s mind. Otherwise it may add negative impulse and huge burdens in your kids’ mind, and he may not able to reach your expectation level, particularly if he is not so brilliant. Inferiority complex and lack of confidence can ruin his career. During his early phase of mental development, such negative thoughts can make deep marks in mind not easy to erase later.
Let him do in accordance to his talent and allow him to fly on his wings. In fact, it’s the willpower and willingness that make a bird fly, and not his wings. Wings just help him to reach that goal. Glorious stories of ancestors should never be compared with the potential present generation. Instead allow them to strive their own and create a new path according to their wish. But glorifying tales of past can help him, if only you manage to tell him properly. You can also tell him the experiences of less successful people from your family, and reasons why they failed. By doing so, he compares better with good and evil and manages to take wise decisions later.
You should also never force him to do things like a successful member of your family. Such comparisons will only bring negative effects, and he won’t listen to your words, particularly if he has reached teens. If he is given enough space, and a feeling that you believe in his talents, he begins to think that he can do better than all of them, and challenge them as well bringing positive changes to his life. It’s also the right moment to know his personal tastes, which field he wants to choose etc. if you observe keen, you can easily recognize which stories make him more interest. He may be attracted to an ancestor of your family keen in arts or sports or music or anything else, and he may love to listen to his stories repeatedly without getting bored.
Tell stories like a narrating script
For a boy, father is his role model, and for a girl, her mother. The childhood experiences of their parents can deeply influence the kids, and they learn a lot of things from home itself. You can tell your old stories as an expressive drama or anything else, which your kids like most. Avoid repetitions please. You should tell them both good and bad things you faced during childhood and adult stage, not just bad things. You can narrate your school trip or science fair, or a wonderful experience with a stranger.
Today world has advanced far in communication means, but sadly through virtual means. Present generation is not acquainted of old colourful friendships that existed in our society 2 decades back, and for them, mobile phone is the only means to connect with others. You can tell good friendship stories of your childhood days, sports and many more such colourful memories. Your kids will love them if you are a good narrator.
Plan family trips to some tourist location for your next holiday or summer vacation. If you have visited the place earlier, you can tell him old stories related to it such as a stranger met and a friendship developed later, a plant brought to your garden, buildings existed then or anything else. He would be keen to hear those stories, and may be surprised to know that friendly relations are possible without the aid of chatting, whatsapp and social networking sites. They may try to find new friendships similar way.
Humanity is a long lost thing and emotional bonding is slowly depreciating. Virtual relations are just like colourful and attractive flowers without any fragrance, and we want our kids to grow with some healthy real relations with the lovely fragrance of rose or jasmine, which spread their magic throughout their life journey. Also make them understand the importance of money as they grow up. Then only they strive to earn, use it wise and also save it better.
Relations with deep bonds are to be developed
Suppose you are on a train journey to a distant place with your family, and your child is crying for a colourful toy. You can divert his attention using a trick. Take him in lap and sit near window. Also tell him how you desired to sit near window while on a bus journey or train. He may ask, how his grandparents respond to that situation. By this way, he tries to learn a little bit about his father. Such personal stories can change his attention for some time as well, if you manage to tell him some interesting story. Your stories should have fun and enjoyment more than tears. Then only your kid loves them.
You can present the story of your fat uncle and his fat tummy adding a pinch of salt to it. You can add humours and describe his attraction towards food. Kids love such entertaining stories a lot. But truth behind such stories is – slowly the kid develops a bond with many elder members of your family. Sad stories can rarely do that job. Kids’ minds are not so complicated to understand big problems and sufferings in deep. But light stories surely can, and they catch kids’ minds easily.
Each story has an age
Teenage is the phase of complexity, and youngsters may be confused between right and wrong. They get easily attracted to the world of cellphones and internet, through which they get both good and wrong things. Proper guidance is needed at that age. You can tell him inspirational stories, and let him identify the difference between good and bad.
You can’t tell complex life experiences to a 5-year old boy. But you can communicate such stories better with a teenager. Complex stories can be simplified and presented before younger kids. Otherwise they can’t understand it. Parents should be able to teach them lessons through stories, and stories should suit their age perfectly.
Let us teach him how to communicate properly through your story telling method
Try to use well-structured sentences, keeping grammar in mind. Kids learn vocabulary, the proper usage of words and many more new things through your stories. Many of such stories with moral lessons are not taught at schools. It also provides him best communication skills. Use only good words. Your kids learn a lot from your usage of words.
For instance, you can express rain in two ways. Instead of blaming rain at wrong time using bad words, you can tell, “Due to heavy rain we may need to wait a little bit longer to go out for shopping”, or “Wow! What a beautiful rain! Take your new umbrella and raincoat I purchased you last month. We will have a wonderful ride this evening”. Yes, the usage of words, language used and your approach to each and every event of your life are imprinted deep in the minds of your kids, and needless to say, they love to imitate you and follow your steps. You can tell him good and inspirational stories from other persons’ experience as well.
Till now, I explained how to present daily routine stories before kids. And what about kids’ stories? They also have so much to tell you, their desires, fantasy stories, dreams and many more. Feel interested to hear their stories as well. When your kid asks you to tell a story, occasionally you can ask him to tell his favourite story. If he gets a listener, he definitely loves it. Let his creatively spread its wings and fly to new destinations unknown and pick some pleasant stories and surprise packages for you. Don’t you love you travel along with him to his wonderland – the world filled with fantasies and amusement with some wonderful creatures you have never heard or read before?
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