Stories are everywhere. Books are brilliant. And getting children to enjoy books from an early age is undoubtedly an important part of their development. But we don’t have to only condition our children to recognise stories in books…..
They are all around us, in every part of life – from obvious mediums such as TV, film, theatre and events to the less obvious – and these are often where the most interesting stories can be found and learnt from. Take a 90-year old grandmother. The stories she has about her life and experiences are something that a child can feast on as they are so rich in detail and experience. And what about stories of amazing achievements – ordinary people who have achieved extraordinary feats; explorers, scientists, artists and sports people.
One of my current favourite collection of stories is here:
Stories are everywhere….
But these are examples of stories that are actually all around us….from the man in the paper shop to the lady delivering flowers and the teacher at school. Everyone has a story. And if you can encourage your children to be interested in the people and world around them, they will soak up great stories like this throughout their day to day. They will learn about experiences that can only benefit their social, educational, and emotional development.
Encouraging engagement in People….
A great skill to encourage children to engage in the world around them and discover the stories that will fascinate and inspire them is the skill of the question. Greatly underestimated, this is a skill that if learnt and incorporated by a child at an early age they will use to discover what so many others in the world miss!
Questions are Amazing…..
We’ve all experienced the curious toddler who asks a hundred questions. Or we’ve been frustrated by the endless questioning about the works of a washing machine by a 4-year old when we’ve been trying to do the laundry. But actually encouraging this love of questioning can be one of the greatest things you can do to encourage an open and creative mind as they get older.
As we grow up the natural way is to stop questioning, accept life as it is and get stuck in our thoughts, opinions and experiences that we know. If we have been encouraged from a young age to constantly ask questions and be curious then we will be more open to opportunities, people and experiences that will enhance our lives. And this is surely one of the most valuable teachings we can give our children. And something we should remember ourselves from time to time!!!
So encourage their questions. Open their minds. Get them to look around them – look into peoples eyes and hearts. Ask them about how they feel and what they know. Their learning will be so much richer and more fruitful that way. And to do this involves getting their head looking up at the world rather down at their device! Real people’s stories are much more engaging than technological ones!
Make your own stories…..
And try making up your own stories. You’d be surprised where your little ones’ imagination takes you. The next time you point out a plane, a digger or a tractor, ask your child where you think it is going. Ask them where it’s been. Or what the person driving it is thinking. Tell them what you think and then ask them to join in and create the story themselves. You will be setting them up for a life that is rich with stories and experiences!