using stories to help our kids

Using Stories to Help Our Kids Learn and Grow

It’s the beginning of a new school year, and as parents, we want our kids to have good goals. Some of our kids will come up with goals of their own, and they may have a list already. Either way, we all hope our kids will be determined to do their best academically, to succeed socially, and to grow personally. And yet, many of us parents know that if we launch into a lecture about these goals, our words will not go far. Fortunately, there are many ways to communicate good things to our kids. And for some reason, round-about reasoning really works for them. Stories are one of these round-about, effective ways to communicate. Plus, it’s much more fun to use stories to help our kids learn and grow.

As our kids begin school, these realms of academic, social, and personal growth are pretty important to us parents. Of course we can talk about these goals straightforwardly, and that may be the best way to handle goal setting with your kid. It’s great to set, measure, and evaluate goals together! You could even incorporate some signs to categorize these goals.

For academics, you could use the sign for school or for class.

For social issues, you could use the sign for friends.

And for personal growth, you could use the sign for feelings.

Stories help our kids learn and grow

So direct goal setting is great, but kids can sometimes be resistant to expectations or goals. We can get eye rolls when we start talking about good character or doing your best in school. Here is where stories can help us. Stories can engage our kids in a way that direct communication cannot.

Often, we see stories as time fillers, or as a means to develop the imagination. But stories can also inspire our kids. The characters end up being role models, showing traits like bravery, honesty, and loyalty. These characters often show a willingness to learn, excellence, and perseverance. What appropriate issues to consider as we begin a new school year. 

Stories have social lessons too. Through stories, our kids can learn how to be a good friend, how to recognize and stand up to negative people, and how to take responsibility when they’ve messed up.

You can start a read aloud time

It’s so worth it to build in time to read-aloud to your family. Even big kids like to be read to. My teenager loves to read his own stuff, and he reads far more advanced works than I do. But this kid does not want to miss our family read-aloud time.

Reading aloud gives you a natural time to discuss whatever you come across in your story. And as reading aloud helps to build these discussions, it also builds your relationship with your kids.

Now, it can seem difficult to get a read-aloud habit going with your family. I tried to incorporate it several different ways before I found one that really worked regularly for us. But there is no perfect way to set up a read-aloud time. Even a short 10 minutes here and there will make a big difference. Do you have time in the car line, right after dinner, or some other in-between time? Pick a favorite chapter book and squeeze it in whenever you can. You might find that your kids start asking for it.

Or find another way to get your kids into stories

Even if you don’t have time or interest in a read-aloud time, you can get your kids to the library to hunt for some good stories. Or look up some recommended reading lists for your kids’ ages and interests, and reserve those at your library. Then ask your kids about the stories they’re reading. 

If they are enjoying their books, they’ll probably love to tell you about them. And if you have time, read the books that your kids are reading so you can really know what to talk about with them.

Whether you read aloud together or discuss your kids’ stories with them, you’ll find some good things to share together. These bits of stories can even inspire some inside jokes between your family members. Then you could use the Signing Time Dictionary to see if you can learn some signs to use in communicating your inside jokes. How fun would that be?

Stories aren’t only in books

We can pass down special stories to our kids. There are times that we make up stories, or our kids make up stories.

Even digital resources like My Signing Time can inspire your kids and use stories to help them learn and grow.

If you don’t have book lovers, that’s OK. Stories are everywhere. Help your kids access stories in whatever way really works for your family. 

You could get a My Signing Time digital subscription on your kid’s tablet, and then you’ll know they have access to safe, fun, educational, inspiring programming. Try it here with a free 14-day trial or get 10% off an annual subscription right here.

Find a way that works for your family to use stories to help your kids learn and grow this school year!

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