Who wouldn’t like listening to good stories? Well, the truth is, “good” is not good enough for kids to listen to your stories. Kids expect variety. They expect action and fun. But aside from action and fun, stories are also a good way to subtly reinforce good behavioral traits.
Narrating a story to a toddler doesn’t require a lot of preparation. Stories made up on the fly can be a lot fun too, not just for the kids but for the narrator as well. Think about a few things you want your toddler to do during the course of a day when they’ve been particularly resisting or have been saying a blanket “No!” and frame a story around that. It’s important you keep the messaging very subtle as kids can be smarter than we give them the credit for, and the moment they figure out you are trying to talk “behavior” and not “story”, they would begin to find ways to dodge the story times.
Try this for an example.
Little Boy Blue
Little Boy Blue wanted to go to the park. He wore his red shirt, black shoes, tidied up his room, and got ready to go outside and play.
“Are you ready to have fun?” mom asked as she got ready.
“Yes, mom, I am” he said.
“Oh, I almost forgot. We need to try going to the potty before we leave the house” mom said.
“I don’t want to try” said Little Boy Blue looking away from mom.
“It’s important to try, so you can be dry and have a lot more fun.” Mom cheered him up.
“No. Not coming”, he said.
“Ok. Will you tell mom when you have to go potty? They have a potty in the park too.” mom asked.
“Ok” he said and they both left for the park.
While Little Boy Blue was having fun in the swing, he had a potty accident and it leaked all over his pants. His wet legs made him itchy and scratchy. After mom applied some lotion, it got a little better but they were still itchy and Little Boy Blue had to go home and rest while all other friends had fun at the park.
If Little Boy Blue had nice and dry pants, he could’ve had so much more fun!
Then, mom said, Will you try going to the potty next time, just before we go outside? So you can have even more fun?
There is no need to stress the moral of the story. Kids are good at connecting dots and they will figure it out sooner than you think. Just let it loose and they will think about it at their own pace. Kids tend to learn their behavioral traits observing others around them and associating themselves with characters from books they read or stories they hear. If you think it’s not reaching them as expected, try a different story with the same moral and more familiar characters after a couple of weeks.
Parents should be cautious while narrating such stories aimed at bringing out the good behavior in children without comparing them to other children or other characters. The perspective should be to showcase a story as an opportunity to encourage good behavior in an entertaining way and not try to settle comparative scores with other kids.