Why do we use stories in WellRead?

WellRead uses storytelling to help parents have conversations with their child about resilience and emotional wellbeing. You might be wondering, why do we use stories in the first place? This week, let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why our stories are such an important part of the WellRead programme.   

 

Creating a fun and engaging experience. 

Reading and storytelling is something people of all ages enjoy. When you and your child settle down to read a story together, you’re creating a safe and relaxed environment that is perfect for building your relationship together. Using stories helps to hold your child’s attention and turns WellRead into a wellbeing activity that your child looks forward to.  

Taking the pressure off. 

Sometimes the thought of having conversations with your child about topics such as their emotional wellbeing can be a little overwhelming. You might feel like you won’t know where to start, or you might be nervous that you won’t know the right things to say. This is where storytelling can help.  The stories we use often focus on characters facing different hurdles or challenges. Reading these stories aloud to your child helps to create a starting point for you and your child to begin having these conversations. The story and the characters give you a reason and a focus to start talking about these different topics in a relaxed, low-pressure environment, instead of bringing them up out of the blue. Blending conversations about thoughts and feelings with an everyday activity helps turn them into a normal part of the family routine.   

Making it real. 

In childhood, we tend to have a more literal and concrete view of the world and how it works, and this is okay. This just means that children can sometimes find it difficult to understand things that they can’t directly see or feel in front of them. This can include concepts like emotion, thoughts and self-esteem. It is still very important for children from a young age to have an awareness and understanding of these concepts, as they help boost emotional wellbeing. This is where stories and storytelling can be really helpful.  The plotlines and characters in the story provide children with concrete examples that help them think about and understand these abstract concepts. The story in combination with the questions helps put the child in the characters shoes and see the world from different points of view. This helps the child make better sense of, and learn more about, these otherwise difficult to grasp concepts.  Additionally, talking about how the different characters might be thinking or feeling in stories can help children start putting thoughts and feelings into words.  This comes in handy when they want to talk to you or someone else about their own feelings.