The Mini Me Yoga programme, designed by Dr Kate Bartram-Brown, uses kids yoga, meditation and mindfulness to create happy, confident children. By introducing just 15 minutes of Mini Me Yoga a day, you can support your child’s physical and emotional well-being, and bring more joy into their lives.

This week’s blog, written by childminder Steph Brown, explores some of the benefits of storytelling.

Storytelling, reading, book sharing, whatever you want to call it, is greatly important to a child’s development. Nowadays, honestly how often do your read/story tell, to your child, weather a book, magazine or a story from your own imagination? We are bringing children up in a more digital age, helping them to chill  after a busy day with a tablet or TV programme. But why? Ease? Convenience? Child wishes? Have you really thought about some of the benefits to story time? Here I will share some, and well as tips to bring it into you home routine.

How and what it helps in development

1. Enhances Verbal Skills: reading out stories to your children helps in making them develop language as well as in learning new words and phrases.

2. Improves Listening Skills: the more children are encouraged to listen and share stories, the more it help to improve attention span as well as further listening skills and understanding.

3. Encourages Creativity And Imagination: listening to a story helps a child imagine the characters, places, what things look like etc. This enhances their creativity, making them more imaginative and open to ideas and free thinking.

4. A Great Tool for Sharpening Memory: this is done by sharing books and stories on more than one occasion, and asking your child what happens next, who in the story, even missing words- especially in rhyming stories. Kids love this as really gets them involved with reading too, and triggers excitement to go on. This can also help children’s attention by adding the right bits at the right part of the story, as well as sequencing, e.g. beginning, middle and end.

5. Broadens Horizon: you can expose children to different places, cultures, countries around the world via a book; this will give them more understanding of the world around them.

6. Makes Academic Learning more fun: through stories you can make any subject interesting, by allowing this grows childrens creativity and understanding as linking to their likes and interests, e.g. my son was learning about the great fire of London and found two books in library on this-  now he is really willing to read himself and share facts he has learnt, then impacting on writing skills and more- all from a book on an event in 1666. When a child finds things interesting, they are more inclined to want to learn more.

7. Better Communication: many children have lots of buzzing questions when focusing on the story- this can help children to develop confidence to ask when they want to know more, as well as furthering their learning e.g. If you don’t know the answer, find a book that may have it. Again this impacts all learning.

8. Helps To Face Difficult Situations With Ease: sometimes children struggle to understand changes, their own feelings, emotions of others and more. Finding a story that relates to this can really help your child, and prepare them for their life adventure. Amazon and your local library can be great source for these.

9. Makes Them Aware Of Their Own Culture And Roots: telling children stories from your own childhood and past activities is great to share family traditions, start new ones and share your personal history. Last year I took my own two up home and showed them my old high school, this made them ask more about me as a child and grew on bonds as well as relighting great memories for myself.

Helping at home

Many settings, including my own childminding, have books on offer all the time. I have fictional and non-fiction, magazines, cook books and travel books. We have story time  daily, where I allow children to choose, or I will if I know I am working on something in particular. ‘Tiddler’ is the favourite at the moment and love seeing the children say parts with me. This type of learning is linked into the EYFS.

Photos, pictures and flash cards: story telling does not just have to be from books or the imagination. Photos are a great source too, making up their own from these too is great fun. Flash cards and changing bits at a time, is great to encourage speaking skills, memory and more as above.

Bedtime story: just doing one story one night a week before sleep has great impact, increasing this as your child gets used to it has even better results. From bonding with your child, above benefits and even helping calm them before sleep as well as relaxing yourself.

Involve your child: let them know of changes, e.g. no screen time, but a book. Allowing them to choose the book to share. Taking them to your local library to get a book for one night, will greatly impact your children’s relationship with books.

Library: visit your local library, sign your child up for a card- the books are free and many under a child’s card don’t get fines if late return, lost or damaged. This also keeps local libraries alive and in our areas. Find your local library at https://www.gov.uk/local-library-services

Book swap: if you don’t have many books yourself, ask a friend if you can do swaps with them. Ask your childcare setting if you use one. Find a book group online- I know I swap a lot of my books to members in there, for little to no costs.

Areas: create a story den or cupboard under the stairs- we have two shelves (£3 each spice racks from IKEA) but great to give enough space to have a range of books. Make them warm cosy and comfortable if you can, or just share a story on the sofa or bed, making it cosy so the child has a whole nice approach to books and storytelling.

In summary

Story time/reading does not gave to be a ruling task, it has amazing benefits as well as helping develop further bonds with your child.

Give your child an early lead in interest in books- when they reach school, they have no choice on guided reading time with teachers. What harm can it do? Books are free in the library and so is your time.

About Steph Brown

I am a single mum who went into being a self-employed childminder due to struggling to find flexible childcare for my own two children. My business is running very successfully and I hold an ‘exceptional service’ award from Bizmums. I do my blog to help support more families in helping their children learn and develop at home and build further bonds with their children too. To find out more about me visit: www.stephschildmindingservicesstone.co.uk 

Mini Me Yoga is an open platform for guest bloggers to share their voice. If you have something you want to share with the Mini Me Yoga community, please contact: info@minimeyoga.com.