How are you doing lately?
Like other families (mine included) your family has probably struggled to get used to living in this new normal. In our home, we turned to our favourite and most trusted stories and focused on how stories can help us make better memories to help us find our balance.
Perhaps you approached the situation with a positive outlook, dreaming of all kinds of activities you would do with your little people. Fun learning, games, lots and lots of time to bond.
Maybe you saw all the posts on social media describing this as the perfect opportunity for parents to create special memories children will cherish for years to come.
And now, instead of beautiful memories and fun times you find yourself battling with your child to eat breakfast, brush their teeth, do their school work …
Tantrums and constant sibling bickering have become the order of the day.
And you’re exhausted. You’re exhausted and you feel as if you are failing as a parent.
Then my emails land in your inbox and you read them and think ‘Yes fine Giuliana, that all sounds lovely but first I have to become a better parent.’
And it’s understandable that you feel that way because when we feel overwhelmed we tend to stick with what we know. But today I’m writing to tell you that if you do this, you are putting the cart before the proverbial horse and missing out on the very thing that will improve your parenting.
Sharing stories with our children brings very many benefits to a family but today I will share just 3.
✨When a family introduces a daily story ritual, they benefit from time spent mindfully together. No matter how difficult the day has been in other areas, storytelling time becomes a special time of connection, helping a child feel loved and valued even on those days when mummy and daddy were cross with them.
✨Children are little people. They feel the same wide range of emotions as adults do but children don’t have the means to express what they are feeling – sometimes they don’t even understand these big, overwhelming emotions.
Stories can open the door that gives children a way to talk about their feelings as they identify with a character or event in the tale. When you know how to choose the most suitable story for your child’s current situation you invite your child to explore their big feelings. You may be surprised to learn why your little person is sooo angry and rebellious lately.
✨When you regularly share and dive into stories with your children, you provide them with a world in which they can safely explore and understand the consequences of different actions. These stories then provide you with a ‘short-hand’ that you can use with your children when they are exhibiting challenging behaviour
Let’s take a practical example. ‘A Single Drop of Honey’ (which I tell here) tells the story of a king who refuses to get involved in issues which do not directly concern him. This tale can help children see how far events can escalate and how important it is to step in when we can. If your child goes through a phase of refusing to do anything not directly related to them, a reference to the king in the story can help them correct their behaviour without you needing to launch into a lengthy (and often unproductive) lecture.
I share more insights into how stories can help you parent in this recent interview with Kiva Schuler, co-founder of the Jai Institute of Parenting.
We share lots of tips and resources for using stories in our parenting in our Facebook group, so join us here to learn more.