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Home Should I invest time in storytelling? And how can it build emotional skills in my child?

Should I invest time in storytelling? And how can it build emotional skills in my child?


We read for different reasons; we read to learn, to reduce stress, to get information, to meet school expectations, for work. 

Reading habits in the US have been changing, but on average, Americans read 12 books in a year, while those aged 15 to 44 spend 10 minutes per day reading. Unfortunately, in 2023, statistics show that 43 million adults in the US have low reading abilities. 

Just like any activity, reading starts as a duty for many of us. Then with habit building, it can become part of our day, a discipline. And for those who build upon their discipline, reading becomes a lifelong source of delight! 

But have you ever wondered how parents and caregivers influence their children to read? One answer is through storytelling. 

What is storytelling and how does it relate to emotional health? 

Storytelling is the act of reading aloud a story. And research proves that numerous are the advantages of storytelling to children. 

Storytelling has been used for many generations as a strategy to teach. Benefits to children whose parents read to them range from social, cognitive, mental and emotional.

Studies of brain activity during storytelling show that several areas of the brain become active. These areas of the brain are assigned in language processing, emotional regulation, and regulation of senses.

In addition, a child’s young brain forms cellular connections that are important for understanding, empathy and openness to new perspectives. These abilities are important to their emotional development.

The benefits of storytelling to one’s emotions


Children have a limited language and therefore ways of expressing themselves. Through storytelling they listen to and learn tools that shape their ideas, and emotions. 


They can form an emotional connection with characters in the story and experience the benefits of feeling connected. The things they read about like empathy, courage, growth, they can use to connect to the world outside. It makes the world a less scary place, makes it more magical and at the same time relatable. 


Instead of talking to kids at the risk of sounding like a lecturer, parents can use storytelling to teach them about abstract concepts like right and wrong, good and evil and other values. Kids learn about honesty, compassion, generosity, friendship and loyalty through engaging stories. 

New ideas and creativity 

Children have limited life experiences, but they can already be introduced to various perspectives and ideas through storytelling. They can meet different people with a variety of personalities, experience the feeling of visiting new places and events. They are able to imagine and expand their creativity. 

Emotional Intelligence

Storytelling provides children with opportunities to face difficult situations even just in the pages of a book. As their favorite character faces difficult life events and overcomes, children also learn examples of resilience, problem-solving and emotional regulation. 

Positive hormones in the brain

When parents engage children through storytelling, children’s brains release hormones, primarily dopamine, which makes the storytelling activity pleasurable. It increases their ability to concentrate and maintain attention. This period of bonding therefore improves the parent and child connection. 

If parents and caregivers invest time and energy in reading stories to their children, they take care of them in more ways than one. Children develop their mental, physical, cognitive and emotional well-being just through several minutes of this interaction. 

An Armenian proverb sums up the benefits of storytelling in one line. It says, “Three apples fell from heaven, one for the teller, one for the listener, and one for the one who heeds the tale.”

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Should I invest time in storytelling? And how can it build emotional skills in my child?
Brandon Resasco