5 Reasons why stories are good for your child’s health

5 Reasons why stories are good for your child's health

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Why stories are good for oyur child’s health

The power of storytelling

We may watch a lot of movies and box sets, but our underlying drive is still the same as it was when we sat around the campfire or listened to granny recount tales of the old days as she rocked rhythmically back and forth in her rocking chair: We love being entertained. We love a good story. We want to be surprised, shocked, elated, intrigued and taken by the hand into a world more fantastical than the one we live in every day.

People have been sharing stories since the beginning of time, even before we had a spoken language.

Paul Zak, PhD, a neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University in California

The format may have changed thanks to modern technology, but our impulse is the same.

Listening to stories goes beyond entertaining your child

What many of us don’t realise is that listening to stories is actually a much more rewarding and enriching experience than flaking out in front of a screen. Why? Because we use our imagination. By applying our own experiences and thoughts to the story, we flavour it with our own being, we make it our very own. This is something Netflix cannot do – not yet anyway. We make stories our own unique experience. We colour them with our own vision, memories, smells and tastes. This not only makes the content of the story much more impactful and memorable in our brain as we are actively engaged in the process instead of simply passively imbibing the message as we gawp at the screen stuffing popcorn in our mouths, it is also makes it more personal.

5 Ways Stories Improve Your Child’s Well-being

Wow! I hear you cry, how can listening to stories be good for my child’s health?

Stories are the way we understand and make sense of the world we find ourselves in.

Clare Patey, Director of the Empathy Museum

How does listening to stories improve your child’s wellbeing?

When a child listens to a spellbinding story that captivates them, moves them, and transports, it sets off a sequence of events in the brain and body:

  1. A sense of belonging – First, their heart rate increases as their attention is piqued. As they continue listening, their brain is prompted to secrete oxytocin, the hormone known for its ability to promote bonding. Now the author is speaking directly to them- silently inside their head. The author provides the words; the child adds the images.
  2. A state of relaxation – This moves them into a state of relaxation. When they are relaxed, their blood pressure lowers, the knots in their stomach loosen, and they are distracted from worrying thoughts. Your mind is focused, engaged, no matter whether the story is happy or sad. This feeling continues after the story has finished. The relaxation effect may last up to 30 minutes after the story has ended. You were connected to another world. This connection with the characters provides a space outside of ourselves. They are open to possibilities instead of constricted in their worrying thoughts.
  3. Working through their problems – If they empathise with the content or the character(s), this can help them work through their own problems. We may even cry openly. It has a cathartic, which is very beneficial and healing.
  4. Laughter. I’m sure you’re familiar with the old saying: “laughter is the best medicine” – well it doesn’t just relax you and reduce stress. According to research, laughter has numerous positive effects, from promoting longevity to boosting the immune system. There are plenty of giggles to be had with Kiki and friends, especially with bumbling Banjo around!
  5. Inspiration, a channel for expressing themselves – Great stories and role models can inspire your child to strive become a better person. If they identify with the protagonist or other characters in the story, they can identify a new purpose or dream. This uplifts them. The character’s journey gives meaning to inner desires that children find hard to express in words.

Kiki’s stories help children become stronger.

Short stories read by children’s author, Francesca Hepton on YouTube

Because Kiki is all about confidence and self-belief, her stories bolster the image children have of themselves. They believe in themselves more. This strengthens their character and resolve. It moves them away from disempowering influences of pier pressure and comparison. Listening to Kiki’s stories is doubly beneficial for your child’s health.

Here are some of the ways Kiki and her (metaphorical) red headband of confidence can help:

  • Children relax through laughter and intrigue with plot twists and unexpected turn of events.
  • Kiki helps children identify with the characters. A wide selection – from the bumbling to the brave and clever.
  • Kiki helps children understand important life messages like being honest, as she shows that being deceitful leads to complications and hurts others (A Case of Mistaken Identity).
  • Kiki’s stories transport them to a world that is safe. They are wholesome but also spirited, progressive stories.

Inspiring self-belief, reinforcing the beauty and power of friendship with funny scrapes and mischief along the way, whichever way you look at it, Storytime with Kiki is beneficial for your child’s wellbeing. And the best part is – they just have to sit back, listen and enjoy! And you could put your feet up with them and enjoy the health benefits of listening to a good story.

Published by Francesca Hepton

Author and wellness mentor Francesca Hepton is a champion for children's health, well-being and a catalyst for personal growth. Her services include books, kits, and courses predominantly in the field of health, well-being, stress reduction, and life-style choices, as well as workshops with associated course material in the form of manuals, storybooks, training manuals, videos, audios, and mentoring services.

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