Why You Should Tell Your Kids Your Fave Family Stories Again & Again

It turns out that funny story about Grandpa is way more beneficial than you thought it was

We’ve all heard that reading to your kids is one of the most important things you can do for their development. But some super-active kids don’t like to sit down and read, and let’s face it, some busy families don’t have the time to do it as much as experts recommend.

But it turns out there’s a related activity that has all the benefits of bonding over books without any actual books, according to The Atlantic. In recent years, several studies have focused on how family storytelling impacts kids, and it turns out there’s tremendous upside, perhaps even more than actual reading time together. Because hearing family stories increases a child’s understanding of other people’s thoughts and emotions, they're better able to grasp complex narrative texts and get along with others at school. Kids brought up with this family history also demonstrate higher self-esteem, a strong sense of identity, greater family cohesiveness and less anxiety. Even tales of strife can be beneficial as long as the storyteller emphasizes the positives that came out of it.

Unlike books, which cost money, can weigh down a bag and require sitting in a well-lit spot, stories are an anytime, anywhere activity (you can even do it during carpool). So try to find time to read with your kids as much as possible. But if you can’t, remember that you’ve got an even more convenient -- and just as good -- alternative.

Sasha Emmons is a writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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