Why Fairy Tales Are Important For Your Child's Development?
Created by Swapna Nair Updated on Sep 26, 2018
The children climbed up the magic faraway tree and they ended up being in the enchanted land.
To this day I fondly recollect this fairy tale written by Enid Blyton. My generation grew up on Enid Blyton. So much so that on my first visit to the UK I desperately wanted to taste hot buttered scones and ginger ale. Thanks to those stories I still have a soft corner for those brown farm eggs!
I was a glutton- I devoured books. Grimm’s fairy tales. Anderson’s fairy tales, Enid Blyton, Aesop’s fables, Panchatantra, Jataka tales, folk tales from various lands and within India- oh I have read them all. And yes I think I have grown up sane! In the last decade there have been articles and views disputing the effect of fairy tales on children. Everything has its pros and cons. Even drinking milk is now being disputed by various experts.
How Fairy Tales Can Have An Impact On ChildrenBetween the ages 3-4 children live in a fantasy world or a make-believe world. They imagine everything is real so if we tell them stories they would think the characters are real. It is difficult for them to know the difference between reality and fiction. At the age of five they know it is fiction and enjoy enacting out these characters. By the time they are six they know a tale is a tale and not the truth.
Fairy tales help in the growth of imagination-Today’s gadgets spoon-feed the children with audio visual elements. It is so much fun to imagine the magic tree with children climbing up and disappearing into an enchanted land. How wonderful a mushroom looks when we imagine it as a toadstool with elves and fairies beneath? So charming is it not. So fairy tales spark off the imagination.
Fairy tales encourage critical thinking skills-Most tales have situations out of which the hero or heroine escapes using their critical thinking skills. Little Red Riding Hood escaped the bully (wolf) using her smart thinking. They help to build values- Pinocchio’s nose growing long is something no child would forget and would teach them the value of being truthful. The queen mother who is obsessed with her own beauty and keeps asking the mirror, ‘who is the fairest of all?’- I learnt early in life not to be so self-centred and the meaning of flattery! Most fairy tales speak of simple positive values and behaviour triumphing very the negative/evil. Sindbad inspires to keep trying. The ugly duckling teaches s to love and accept ourselves. Cinderella teaches us the value of time. The glass slipper conveys that each of us is different. The three little pigs convey how our foundation should be strong- this is very metaphorical. It can relate to our house/ character/academics They spark off creativity- most children want to draw/colour/ make souvenirs resembling their favourites. Some try to bake the gingerbread man after reading the story.
Fairy tales are for fun-hey we all need this Vitamin Fun in our lives. Lives would be so boring without fun and imagination. A tree full of chocolates, a house made up of candies- wouldn’t they bring a smile even today. Toys coming alive, the toy train and the elves bring in so much fun. They encourage the habit of reading. Any habit begun early stays on. As children grow they read other genre too.
They help us in taking a peek at the cultural heritage-all tales relate to the culture of the land. They are rich in the local culture. Children would come to know about various seasons, the food, dress and customs of other lands. There are so many of us still fascinated with the Arabian deserts thanks to Sindbad and the Arabian nights. Fairy tales can be enacted at home and school thus bringing out the performance skills.
Fairy tales enrich the vocabulary-Activities and games can be created using these tales to enrich vocabulary and grammar.
Organise fairy tale evenings during the vacations-invite your child’s friends or cousins. Organise games or quiz on fairy tales. Harry Potter series are he modern tales which are loved by adults and children. Organise costume party /movies based on the tales. I can assure you that it would be most enjoyable. Allow your children to organise such events. This will help in developing their leadership, communication and organising skills.
Discussion and debate-As your child grows, use these tales to discuss and debate on the values/characters. It is beautiful to note how their perspective changes. Girls would not enjoy the typical ‘damsel in distress’ heroines. They would no longer believe in Prince Charming coming on horse backs. Use these moments as teachable moments. Most of these tales are male centric. Hence gender sensitization can be done when they are older. Step families are shown as cruel in most tales. This is not the truth in real life. So guide them to distinguish between fact and fiction when they are older. So let us not analyse too much into the tales. Read for fun, read for imagination.
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| Feb 26, 2018
thanks for taking us down the memory lane and refreshing those childhood memories .I still love to hear these fairy tales from my daughters once they are through with reading . that spark in their eyes when they narrate fairy tales is a cherished moment for all three of us..