On chilly Sunday afternoon like today, what could be better than cuddling up with your favorite people and a few of your favorite Fairy Tale stories?
(Okay, so this book may not be a fairy tale story, but who could blame me for sneaking that cute picture into the post?)
The truth is, plenty of notable people agree that Fairy Tales are good for children, including Albert Einstein!
Fairy Tales foster imagination.
Yes, this is obvious, but it really has far reaching effects. Children use their imagination to learn about the world around them. They make connections using the knowledge that they have and fill in the gray areas with their own ideas of what "might be." Their creative thoughts not only help build their ideas about their world but also about themselves. They use comparisons to stories to see what things they have in common as well as in contrast to the characters. These skills help them build their own character strengths and may even begin to spark ideas in the type of education, career and life that they want to build for themselves.
Fairy Tales build cultural awareness.
Fairy tales often include cultural references and relevance. They can create a sense of belonging and pride in a child's own heritage. They can build curiosity and wonder in the world outside of their own realm of experience. This creates a desire to experience new places and try new things. It can also bring a sense of acceptance as they learn that everyone is different and that it's these differences that makes each person (or character's) story unique and interesting!
Fairy Tales reinforce our efforts to teach right from wrong.
Underneath every fairy tale story is a moral lesson. Just as it is with the lore spun by Aesop, the message may not be direct, but it's still there. Justice prevails. Good triumphs over evil. Love can conquer all.
"Fairy tales help to teach children an understanding of right and wrong, not through direct teaching, but through implication.
Fairy Tales teach critical thinking skills.
It doesn't take long for children to draw connections and even make predictions between decision and outcome. They learn that while the circumstances of the story may be beyond their control, it's the character's choices that will ultimately have the greatest influence the story's ending.
Fairy Tales help children understand their emotions.
Love and loss. Loneliness. A longing to be heard and understood. These are not just themes in fairy tales but in real life as well! My 7 year old was certain that she was the only child on the planet not allowed to go to the park alone. I'm sure that it was easy for her to empathize with the plight of Jasmine who longed to see the world outside of her palace walls. Understanding that everyone has emotions is an important part of learning to deal with them.
Bravery in the face of danger. Confidence and determination even when the odds are not in your favor. Fairy tales teach children that they too are big enough, strong enough, smart enough, and kind enough to be the hero of their own story.
Fairy Tales are Fun.
What's not to love about imagining yourself dancing at the Royal Ball like Cinderella or following the will o' the wisps like Merida? When will you ever be taught how to swing through the jungle on vines by Tarzan or have dinner prepared for you by a talking clock and a singing candle stick, if not in the fairy tales that are read to you in your childhood?
So grab a favorite fairy tale, and a few of your favorite people and don't worry about wasting time filling their heads with a bunch of nonsense. It turns out that this nonsense is actually what gives them the ability to make sense of the world later on in life. <3