We learn from the characters in stories, even as adults. They help us because we connect to our own lives, dreams, anxieties, and consider what we would do in their shoes. Fairytales help children learn how to navigate life.
Fairytales show real life issues in a fantastical scenario where most often the hero triumphs. They allow children to discover in a safe environment that no one in life is immune from challenges.
Many cultures share common fairytales like Cinderella, with their own cultural flavor. We read the versions and know we all share something important, the need to make sense of life with story, and the hope for good to triumph over evil.
Fairytales are understanding the basics of story — setting, characters, and plot (rising action, climax, and resolution) as well as the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Once a child understands story, it supports his ability to make predictions and comprehend other stories he’s reading.
“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.” —Albert Einstein
Perhaps you disagree with a message in a fairytale. Reading that fairytale is the perfect opportunity to open the discussion with your kids. Exposure to different ideas and guided conversations help your kids learn to evaluate what they read and think for themselves.
Use fairytales to teach morals and lessons. What can you learn from Goldilocks? How about Cinderella or Jack and the Beanstalk?