How Stories Can Prepare Children for Life

Image via Flickr  Mankind has always been obsessed with storytelling, since the most distant days of prehistory when our ancestors sat around roaring bonfires telling the tales of mythical figures and their deeds.  Nothing has changed in this regard today, and fictional entertainment is as popular as ever, whether in the form of books, or TV shows and films.  One of the areas where stories continue to have the most impact, however, is in delighting and educating our children. Fables and fairytales seem uniquely able to inspire and enlighten kids, where dry lectures would put them to sleep.  Why is that the case? Let’s take a look.   Stories exist in a world of adventure   The normal world is often reasonably boring for grownups, never mind for children who’re used to living in a world of adventure and make-believe, where heroes and villains and strange creatures lurk in every corner and great quests define the fate of the world.  Stories are able to place often mundane concepts and lessons into fantastic settings and so make them far more interesting and exciting. That, of course, means that a child is far more likely to absorb the fundamental messages.   Stories make things less frightening  Real-world concepts and their implications are often scary, or at least daunting. Trying to teach a child about the dynamics of heroes and villains by talking about contemporary terrorist atrocities is likely to give them nightmares.  When placed in a fantasy setting, however, many of these concepts stop being so frightening. They’re now removed from our day-to-day lives by a degree of separation, and there are always wise kings or bold heroes to step up and do battle when needed.   Stories can simplify complicated concepts  In day-to-day life, almost everything has layers of complexity which can be utterly baffling if we’re not prepared for them. Few adults could claim to have a good working knowledge of how the various financial institutions operate, even the activities of benign companies such as best.creditcard. So how can children be expected to unravel these arcane mysteries?  Addressing big concepts in a fantasy setting allows for these ideas to be boiled down and simplified to their core components, while also positioning them against a narrative backdrop which serves to enhance understanding, rather than diminish it.  There’s a reason why metaphors are such commonly used teaching mechanisms.  Stories stick in a child’s memory  A dry lecture about something complicated like budgeting or arithmetic is likely to interest a child about as much as watching paint dry, and will probably fly out of their head as soon as they’re free to run off and imagine themselves fighting a dragon or saving a princess.  Stories with engaging characters and plots can carry these same morals, but present them to a child in a coating of fun and adventure. This, of course, means that the child is more likely to remember the tale. Even if they’re not constantly reflecting on the lesson of the story, it’ll be working in the back of their mind. - giant storybook image

Image via Flickr

Mankind has always been obsessed with storytelling, since the most distant days of prehistory when our ancestors sat around roaring bonfires telling the tales of mythical figures and their deeds.

Nothing has changed in this regard today, and fictional entertainment is as popular as ever, whether in the form of books, or TV shows and films.

One of the areas where stories continue to have the most impact, however, is in delighting and educating our children. Fables and fairytales seem uniquely able to inspire and enlighten kids, where dry lectures would put them to sleep.

Why is that the case? Let’s take a look.

Stories exist in a world of adventure

The normal world is often reasonably boring for grownups, never mind for children who’re used to living in a world of adventure and make-believe, where heroes and villains and strange creatures lurk in every corner and great quests define the fate of the world.

Stories are able to place often mundane concepts and lessons into fantastic settings and so make them far more interesting and exciting. That, of course, means that a child is far more likely to absorb the fundamental messages.

Stories make things less frightening

Real-world concepts and their implications are often scary, or at least daunting. Trying to teach a child about the dynamics of heroes and villains by talking about contemporary terrorist atrocities is likely to give them nightmares.

When placed in a fantasy setting, however, many of these concepts stop being so frightening. They’re now removed from our day-to-day lives by a degree of separation, and there are always wise kings or bold heroes to step up and do battle when needed.

Stories can simplify complicated concepts

In day-to-day life, almost everything has layers of complexity which can be utterly baffling if we’re not prepared for them. Few adults could claim to have a good working knowledge of how the various financial institutions operate, even the activities of benign companies such as best.creditcard. So how can children be expected to unravel these arcane mysteries?

Addressing big concepts in a fantasy setting allows for these ideas to be boiled down and simplified to their core components, while also positioning them against a narrative backdrop which serves to enhance understanding, rather than diminish it.

There’s a reason why metaphors are such commonly used teaching mechanisms.

Stories stick in a child’s memory

A dry lecture about something complicated like budgeting or arithmetic is likely to interest a child about as much as watching paint dry, and will probably fly out of their head as soon as they’re free to run off and imagine themselves fighting a dragon or saving a princess.

Stories with engaging characters and plots can carry these same morals, but present them to a child in a coating of fun and adventure. This, of course, means that the child is more likely to remember the tale. Even if they’re not constantly reflecting on the lesson of the story, it’ll be working in the back of their mind.

Begin Financial Education Early: It Makes Perfect Cents!

As a responsible parent, you want to ensure that your child is healthy, safe and happy. Part of instilling confidence and self-esteem within your child is making sure that they understand money and finances, and that they’re ready when they do eventually fly the nest into the big wide world. It’s never too early to start teaching your youngsters about money. Having an open and transparent attitude to family finances and being there to answer any questions that your toddler, adolescent or teenager may have means that they’ll be clued up when they have to make major financial decisions later in life. Take a look at how you can teach your kids the value of money.

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Structured Play

Two-year-olds are now able to open up an iPad, swipe across the screen and watch their favorite nursery rhyme on youtube.com without any intervention from mom or dad. Technology is taking over, and this is the same when it comes to money. Internet banking and paying by card means that toddlers rarely see any real money. When you are playing shop or heading down the local store to purchase a small item, get your real life notes and pennies out. Allow your child to feel the genuine article, not a plastic replica. Little kids love nothing better than feeling more grown up than they are, so allow them to pay the guy behind the counter when you pick up your newspaper and see if they can count their change.

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Family Finances

As your kids grow older, they may begin to want for more things whether this is the latest smartphone, console or tablet. If you are struggling to afford their wishlist, it’s vital that you tell them why. You may have recently renovated the kitchen, had to fork out for a new gasket on the car and paid for them to head off on their annual school trip. This meant you had to take out more short-term loans and credit cards putting you into debt. Explain to your child that this is manageable but only if you reign in the spending for a while. If this situation is familiar to yours, consider heading to a site like consolidate.loan and compare debt consolidation lenders. This way all those tiny chunks of debt can be merged into one monthly repayment.

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Incentivise

The best way to get kids saving is to make it worth their while. As you give them pocket money, they may choose to save up for something like a drum kit or a trip to the cinema. Motivate them by pledging to top up their funds with $5 every time they save $20, giving them an extra impetus to save. As they see their nest egg accrue, you may want to introduce the idea of a bank account or other avenues down which they could see their money grow even further. As they get older, it’s important that children understand the importance of saving, so they don’t become frivolous with money as they enter college and adulthood.

Financial education is only sometimes taught in schools, but it should also be an integral part of the home. Teaching sound money sense from an early age will enable your child to grow up feeling confident, content and happy when budgeting, saving and spending.