Why stories can offer us solutions even at the hardest of times
“Stories help children develop empathy and cultivate imaginative and divergent thinking – that is, thinking that generates a range of possible ideas and/or solutions around story events, rather than looking for single or literal responses”.
It’s a little too easy to get lost in the pressures of modern life, especially right now as we navigate this new sense of freedom, while managing the anxiety that inevitably comes with many restrictions being lifted. And, if you’re anything like us, you’re probably also worrying about all the milestones your child is meant to have hit by now, after 18 months of chaos.
The good news is, that if you are able to do one thing that is guaranteed (yes you read that right!) to help your child cope better at nursery, at school and, in fact, at life in general, it’s to encourage them to read.
Reading is a super life skill that goes far beyond the capacity to read a road sign, email or text from your bank. Reading opens up our world brilliantly, displaying spectacularly to your child the infinite possibilities that their future holds.
Books help us learn about the unconditional love of family, they help us learn about good and bad friendships and relationships. And, books also show us the diversity and adventure that our planet can offer.
Reading regularly and widely will teach your child about other people, who look different, sound different and possibly even think differently.
And last, but by no means least, books that feature all the different nuances of our emotions will help your child recognise and articulate their feelings. And all of this is learned brilliantly, almost by osmosis, just by reading a story with their grown up, or watching one of our Read Along classes in Book Adventurers.
By reading stories about other people’s feelings, your child will develop the capacity to understand and share those feelings – building up a healthy ability to practise empathy, another life skill which will set your child up perfectly to forge healthy relationships and friendships in the future.
And stories can help hugely when we are dealing with big changes in life, something which is often challenging to many small children. In particular, many children struggle to express their emotions around difficult subjects, especially things they find frightening, which is natural. Stories are an ideal way to explore safely these ideas and concepts.
Books reflect our own life experiences and feelings back to us, sending your child that all-important message of ‘you are not alone’. And reading about the amazing achievements of people like them is especially important to every child regardless of socio-economic background, ethnicity or gender.
A great site for the promotion of girls is A Mighty Girl which regularly showcases incredible books (and toys) which promote what girls and women can, and have achieved throughout history.
We’re passionate about presenting positive role models for emoting healthy feelings, fostering understanding of places and people that are different (at first glance!) and books that spark questions and ideas about the world around us.
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
― Emilie Buchwald
Check out our Brilliant Books section for some ideas of where to start.
Our interactive book club ‘Book Adventurers’ offers a set of creative classes based in and beyond two books this summer. Using art, music, craft and drama play we explore topics such as plastic pollution and loss within our overall theme of the Deep Blue Sea. We’ve also got parent guides for both of the issues we explore in our book choices for further resources and ideas.