Are you part of the 45% of fathers who won’t do a very crucial parenting job? It’s a great “job” that is fun, increases their children’s school success and builds the important father/child relationship.
According to a May 2009 poll by the National PTA, nearly half of men surveyed report that they do not participate in the essential family ritual of bedtime stories. Hearing and telling bedtime stories helps children both bond with their parents and increase their school success. As well, surveys also indicate that children who have actively involved fathers do better in school and have less issues with drugs and alcohol as teens.
Sean Buvala, a professional national storyteller and author of the book “DaddyTeller: How to Be a Hero to Your Kids and Teach Them What’s Really Important by Telling One Simple Story at a Time,” shares these three tips to help dads be more involved in bedtime stories with their children:
1. Alternate between reading books and telling stories.
There is a great emphasis on picking up storybooks and reading stories to children. Reading to children is a good thing and should be part of every father’s daily (or at least weekly) plan. For an even bigger impact on your kids, put down the storybook and tell stories to your children. The DaddyTeller books contains eight stories and step-by-step directions to tell each story. Not only will you model communication skills for your children, but you will start developing an in-your-head collection of stories that you can share with them at a moment’s notice. As your confidence in storytelling and your story repertoire grows, you will be even more confident in participating in the important bedtime story ritual in your own home.
2. Make bedtime stories a two-way conversation.
In telling stories to your kids, they will start to learn the rhythm and flow of the stories you tell them. Learn to stop telling a story and ask, “What happens next?” Help your child to think about the future of characters in books or your oral stories. For example, in the “Lion and the Mouse” story by Aesop, ask your child to imagine and share with you how the Lion and Mouse might be friends in the future or to make up stories about where the mouse lives. You can download this story and instructions for free from www.daddyteller.com .
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Although storytelling is a powerful tool to help you child succeed in school and life, bedtime stories should be fun. Take the pressure off yourself to be a faultless parent in every breath and action you take. In the DaddyTeller book, you will learn just how and when to use a funny story.
You can spend lots of time learning to tell the perfect story perfectly, but in the end, the relationship you are building and the time you spend together with your kids is more important than perfect storytelling techniques. Some fathers will worry more about getting it right than getting in front of their children. Look your child in the eye and tell them stories. If laughing and giggling occurs, that is a good thing, too. Sometimes the “father role” is just being the giggle-man with the funny bedtime stories.
Dads! Don’t be part of the nearly 50% of fathers that miss one of the most important parts of their child’s lives and development. Share stories with your kids to improve their future!
Sean Buvala is the author of DaddyTeller™, which teaches dads how to tell bedtime stories for children. You can find his book at http://www.daddyteller.com