Blog Posts & Articles

Why Telling Your Kids a Story is a Good Supplement to Reading to Them

Kid Bedtime Stories

As parents and caregivers, we know how important it is to read to our children. Reading fosters language development, expands their understanding of the world, and helps bond us together. However, making up and telling your own stories can be a good addition this!

Personalized Stories

When reading a book, you’re restricted to whatever plot and messaging the author has created. But when YOU tell the story, you can personalize it to your child’s interests, needs and values. For example, you can:

• Use your child’s name and incorporate people and places they know into the tale
• Base the protagonist’s personality or struggles on what your kid is currently grappling with
• Send positive messages you specifically want to reinforce like bravery, honesty or inclusion

Hearing their name and familiar things grabs and keeps your child’s attention. And seeing a version of themselves go on exciting adventures or overcome challenges helps build self-confidence and coping skills.

Conveying Your Values

Along the same lines, telling original stories allows you to instill the morals and worldviews you want your child raised with, not someone else’s. Books certainly have merit, but they won’t always align perfectly with your family’s values. When YOU create the story, you can organically promote compassion, diversity, environmentalism and whatever else is important in your home.

For example, you might have a princess character who loves her toy toolkit as much as her dollhouse to challenge gender stereotypes. Or feature a disabled character using assistive technology to normalize disability. There are countless ways to bake your values in so it doesn’t feel forced to your listeners.


Now here’s an advantage reading can’t match: you can let your child co-create the stories WITH you! Invite them to chime in with ideas for the plot, characters, dialogue or settings. What should the characters’ names be? What color is the dragon? Where should they journey to next?

This creative collaboration strengthens your bond, builds imaginative thinking skills and gives your kid agency. Plus, allowing them to shape the tale makes it much more exciting and memorable. They’ll beg you for more storytime!

Overcoming the Challenge

Those are some excellent benefits of making up your own children’s stories. But there IS one major hurdle: coming up with fresh ideas every time so you don’t get stale repeating the same tales. Am I right?

When my son asks for a new saga featuring his favorite monster battling robot ninjas (yes, that’s a thing!), I don’t always have the mental bandwidth after a long day. And even with a free minute, dreaming up detailed worlds, characters and logical plots from scratch is HARD!

That’s why I’ve turned to artificial intelligence to give my imagination a boost. There are amazing storytelling websites and apps like that can generate unique story ideas or full narratives on demand based on parameters you set.

For instance, I can tell I need a short fantasy quest for a 6 year old with a smart girl hero rescuing her brother. In seconds, it spits out an entire fabulously fun tale I can tell verbatim or use as inspiration to spin my own version. Even better, it integrates vocabulary building, life lessons and conversation prompts – teaching me HOW to tell it for maximum impact!

With awesome tools like this, lack of time or writer’s block will never come between me and storytime again. And the adventures I experience with my son as we craft tales together will foster creativity and strengthen our bond for years to come. Reading is fundamental, but storyTELLING is magical.