10 ways to use stories to bond with your kids


The power of storytelling lies not only in the way it builds strong bonds between you and children, but in the fact that stories are the building block to literacy development. This Literacy Month, Nal’ibali is encouraging you to tell the stories that you love and share the stories that matter!

To kick off the campaign, the organisation spearheading stories, storytelling and reading in South Africa asked 4 local loved authors and personalities to share what stories mean to them and their kids. Watch writers Sindiwe Magona and Lauren Beukes, Solli Philander and Rob van Vuuren tell us why they're each a Story Bosso.

You can be a Story Bossy too!

Sharing stories with your children opens them up to big and beautiful worlds, made even more beautiful by showing them that you value spending this time with them! After a a day at work, or before school, here are 10 quick and easy ideas to get storytelling with your little ones:

1. Tell them about your day:

Whether it’s about what you dreamt the night before, what happened during your day, or perhaps something that someone else told you, repurpose it for your children. Make it exciting, add voices and animated actions to get your child completely involved and interested!

2. Retell an old story you remember:

If you remember a story that was told to you when you were a child, or a children’s book you had read all those years ago, you should share it with your children. Storytelling stimulates children’s imagination and their use of language.

3. If you have a teen or older child, ask questions:

Ask older children what they liked about a book they read, and if there is anything they wished was different. Talk to them about the characters, nuances about the story. 

4. Tackle hard topics with stories:

Sometimes talking about difficult topics with children can be a challenge. Whether you’re talking about dealing with grief, anger, sadness, or bullying, using a story to discuss the topic is a great way to get your child to open up!

5. Tell personal stories:

Stories are a powerful way for children to get to know who you are as a person. Tell them about your life, your childhood, memories that meant a lot to you. The more you share, the more they’ll share with you! 

6. Share stories about different cultures:

Stories can transport and connect them to the lives of people they’ve never known, who come from different cultures and speak different languages. Stories are key in building empathy – the most important factors in teaching tolerance and understanding in children. 

7. Get dramatic:

Act out a portion of a story together! Let the little ones choose the character/s they want to play and have fun!

8. Create your own library:

Build up a bank of stories to tell and then keep finding new ones by looking in books or on the internet. Translate and adapt stories that may only be available in one language. Keep them in a special folder or a book. If you make it a part of your every day life, you’ll slowly begin to instil a culture of reading and sharing in your home!

9. Practise together:

Storytelling is a fun interactive activity. It’s never one-sided or something that children should see as a chore. When you tell a story, practise it with your little one beforehand and tell it together to another family member! During this process, your child will ask questions, show their personal quirks and improvise.

10. Write down your favourite story:

If there’s a story your child loves to hear or tell, why not write it down with them? Create your own little book for stories! If they’re too young to write, then get them to draw the pictures! This will become a treasured book in your household.

Get your story published and win cash prizes!

If you feel inspired enough, record your story and upload to stand a chance to win Nal’ibali’s Story Bosso talent search. Adults AND children can enter. If your story wins, you’ll win cash prizes and have your story published as a book!

Visit www.nalibali.org for more information. 

How do you use stories in your home? What are your children's favourite stories? Do these all come from books or do you tell family stories as well? Send your comments to chatback@parent24.com.

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