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Book chat: Emotions Through Story

by Pepper Basham

Stories are a part of our lives. Whether we read them, watch them, listen to them, or tell them, our lives are made up of narratives. It makes sense, then, that one of the best ways to share information is through stories. 

Ever watched a movie that really resonates with your emotions? Usually that movie "sticks with us" because it made of "feel" things deeply. Stories have a way of creating emotional memories, but sometimes, if we don't know much about our emotions, we might need a little help to understand how they are impacting us. 

Books, movies, and conversations using narratives are great ways to talk about emotions.

0846824001595863794.jpgFor example, if we were using a classic fairytale like Cinderella, we could draw our child's attention to the facial expressions of the characters in the story and label them along with the situation. 

"Wow, does Cinderella look happy or sad right now? Happy? That's right. Why do you think she's happy? Maybe it's because the fairy godmother is being kind to her and giving her presents."

Then, we can relate the feeling to personal experience to help the child internalize it.

"Has there been a time when someone was kind to you? Or when someone gave you presents because they cared about you? How did you feel?"

This is a simple example, but it can be expanded upon based on the developmental level of your child. Movies are also a great resource (and many times easier for kids who have reading difficulties) for discussing emotions. 

The most important thing is to remember that stories aren't just meant to be heard/read/ seen. They are also great tools for conversations! And conversations help our children think, grow, and learn!

From which format of story would your child learn best? Movie? Book? Having a story told to him/her?

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