Your Toddler, the Story-teller.
“Just as computer simulations help us get to grips with complex problems like flying a
plane or forecasting the weather, so novels, stories and dramas help us understand the
complexities of social life.” Dr Keith Oatley, Ph.D.
By the time toddlers learn to form basic sentences, they become competent in telling
stories. These stories could be based on anything and everything they encounter in their
daily lives. They are too young to fathom the incongruity of imagination and reality.
Wherefore, sometimes they recite the stories they have heard from people around them
like the story of their funny fall their mum always talks about and other times about
adventures with their imaginary friend.
About 40 percent of toddlers have imaginary friends and the power of their imagination
decides the variety or form of this mate. They vividly interact with these friends and
often come back to tell stories about their adventures. (Elleen, Jan, 2013, Psychology
Toddlers perceive the world through stories. Introducing them to different characters
and scenarios will help them understand and solve problems in the real world. Studies
have shown that toddlers who are exposed to stories to a greater extent have a higher
level of empathy. (Alex Winters, BBC)
Story-telling from a young age helps build confidence and teaches the techniques of
holding an audience’s attention through eye-contact, body language, etc. It helps
develop listening skills as the stories they narrate may not always revolve around them.
There is a large scope for interpretations of experiences and behaviours of people who
toddles interact with as protagonists in different stories. Stories also help install a love
for language and literature associated with culture. (Martha Hamilton & Mitch Weiss,
Even though story-telling comes naturally to toddlers, it should always be nurtured and
developed. Here are a few ways to enhance your kid’s art of story-telling.
1) Exposing them to good books: Books are the best source of inspiration. Amongst
its pages you would not only find a narrative, but also ideas on how to start, end
or go about with a story. For toddlers, words in a book may get confusing but
illustrated characters can always trigger their imagination.
2) Be expressive: Don’t just read or listen to a story but also use your body language
and expressions to become the characters of the story. Associating words with
actions help in development of fine motor skills.
3) Let them choose their story: Encourage your children to be independent thinkers
by letting them choose their story or explore their environment. By doing so, you
are enhancing their ability to think and create.
4) Let them practice: It would take a while for toddlers to recite words in a way that
makes sense. Make them parrot a word or a sentence continually till it becomes a
part of their everyday vocabulary.
Story-telling is always fun. When toddlers are reciting an experience, or making one up,
they are connecting with world and the people around them. Thus, parents must always
encourage toddlers to tell tales.