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The Parent-Child Connection: Storytelling as a Gateway to Effective- And Flowing!- Communication

Unlocking the Tale: The Transformative Power of Storytelling in Parent-Child Communication

As a parent or caregiver, we've all faced that pivotal moment when we ask our kid, "What did you do today?" and are met with a shrug in response. 

It's a scenario that resonates with me, for sure. And I’m guessing if you’re this far in the article- for you as well. We WANT to hear from our kids and so we seek ways to foster more… flowing... conversations with our young ones. There’s some good advice out there that revolves around asking specific open-ended questions, but I recently came across a profound insight from storyteller and author Terri Windling which sheds light on a deeper aspect of the, “What did you do today interaction?”.

In her words, Windling highlights how the ability to craft a narrative can be cultivated through exposure to storytelling. Children, much like us, need to hear stories to comprehend the art of storytelling and feel empowered to share their own experiences with eloquence.

The question "What did you do today?" serves as an invitation for a child to weave a story of their day's adventures. 

However, for them to respond with more than a mere "nothing," they must be well-versed in the language of storytelling

Are our young ones equipped with enough exposure to narratives to confidently articulate their thoughts and experiences?

-Terri Windling

A mother holding her daughter. They are dressed in green on a green background.
Telling kids stories helps them to become storytellers of their everyday.

Unraveling Narrative Structures

Storytelling is more than just words. It’s the act of telling a story directly to a listener with nothing in between. It’s words alive in the air and you as the teller watching the face and body language reaction of your listener. Storytelling imparts a profound understanding of how spoken words and narratives influence and impact others. 

By immersing children in storytelling and helping them experience and understand the impact of spoken words, we equip them with the ability to shape their ordinary, everyday experiences into tales that captivate listeners and convey their emotions effectively.

Embracing the Journey of Storytelling

Storytelling isn’t a one-time fix for creating gloriously juicy conversations with your kids about their day. Like many things in life, it’s a journey.

Kids need examples over time of how to turn their sighting of a cat on the way to school into a story of note to talk about. So, how do you do that? Here’s three ways to start.

  •  As you go through your day, keep a small notebook with you and jot down your own story moments that you want to share with your kids. Share these moments with your kids at dinner or bedtime. They’ll love hearing from you and connecting with you, and it’s like an invitation for them to share from their day as well.

  • After you share your story moment, ask your kid if something similar happened in their day. So often, our brains remember little moments from our own lives when someone else is telling a story from theirs!

  • Harness the power of scent: smells often help us remember, and memories are our stories. So, if you are with your kids and there is a smell that suddenly makes you remember something that you want to/feel comfortable sharing with them, go for it! A short little, “This smell reminds me of the time ____” is a great way to introduce the idea of opening up and telling the stories of our days!

Want more tips and ideas for creating communication confidence with your kids? Sign up for my newlsetter via the homepage of my website (and get a FREE story download + coloring page!).


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