I’m not all that good at story-telling. However, working in the heritage sector you come across many different professional story tellers and there is something that they all have in common. Charisma? Not always. Volume? Not always. A good story? Not always!Enthusiasm? Totally. Their enthusiasm seems to overcome any self consciousness that might hold them back. They all seem to move about a lot, gesture, raise and lower their voices. This is the key to captivating children and adults, without this one thing all the rest are meaningless.
In my former life, I was camping at an archaeological dig and people told stories around the campfire. They could be the most mundane stories about visiting a shop or the most fabulous; someone I know really did find a tomb of gold in Peru! The most captivating public speakers or story tellers use enthusiasm, dramatics, props and volume combined together to engage the audience. This is not a skill that cant be taught, only learnt through practice.
Why am I saying this? Well, I think its incredibly important to try to talk and engage with children and this is something that I have difficulty with. I tend to mumble through stories and talk in a very boring way to them. However, recently I have been using some of these storytelling techniques either at evening story time or simply during the course of our day. I can be washing up and telling the kids about what I am doing and they stand quietly amused. It’s quite good fun, but also its clearly helping Toddler Boy with his speech difficulties. Yes, I am slowly descending further into madness, but hey, its fun. Try to be enthusiastic about everything you do with them and talk to them with masses of enthusiasm even if it is only encouraging them to lay down whilst you change a nappy. I’m sure you will be amazed at the overall difference it makes to family life in all sorts of ways.