Spring is finally here! Spring is the season of family, new beginnings, new ideas -- new stories. It's a great time to sit down and share stories with your children -- most especially, stories about family. Telling stories about family helps children to develop a sense of pride, build their listening comprehension skills, and, ultimately, become wonderful storytellers themselves.
My family loved discussing current events, but hearing stories about relatives who grew up long ago and in quite different circumstances was what got us kids to really perk up and listen. There was the story about a great-grandmother who had a habit of hiding bread under her bed. As little children, my siblings, cousins, and I simply couldn’t understand why she did this - most especially because she would always set out lavish snacks on the kitchen table for us when we visited! Learning about where she came from and what led to her need to hide bread “just in case” gave us a sense of place and belonging.
Those stories about my great-grandmother and other relatives and their struggles were rich lessons in civics, history, and culture. They also helped us learn how to make inferences and connections: The current events that we discussed at dinner made more sense when we heard stories about long ago. For us, sitting around the kitchen table while my mother and grandmother cooked a holiday meal was an opportunity to learn more about what made our family special. The stories we heard helped us figure out our place in the world.
Spring is a time for new beginnings, and family stories are a time to treasure where we came from. Tell your children a family story - it will help them learn how to tell their own.