Making children go to bed early can be a challenge for many parents. One of the easiest and funniest ways to make children want to go to bed is by rewarding them with a bedtime story before sleeping. This will help them develop their intellect and share in family time as well. They help to foster parent-child bonds. Lately researchers have attached other powers to this nighttime routine. With reading and telling stories to your children to bed, you’re actually boosting your child’s brain development. That statement is especially true when we talk about the language and comprehension skills. Reading helps children learn languages, as well as enhance their vocabulary. Bedtime stories can help an active kid calm down, and at the same time it helps them build their imagination and have a better understanding of the world around them.
We believe many Diasporan families use Armenian language for daily inner communications and conversations. Though many children do not write or read in Armenian but they usually at least understand Armenian and can express themselves even with a small stock of vocabulary. This is usually the case with those Armenian families who live with grandparents. The children of such families are lucky to have more Armenian conversations at home and gain national identity of where their roots come from.
The Armenian grandparents and parents should consider bedtime storytelling as an important part of nurturing Armenian identity into the younger members of their families who are born far from the Motherland.
Besides the vocabulary skills that Armenian fairytales and stories can supply during everyday reading sessions, there are even more important powers that they possess. Make sure you choose national Armenian stories and fairytales by Armenian poets and classics, like Hovhannes Toumanian, Ghazaros Aghayan, Khnko Aper and many others. There is also much choice for the folk tales for children. Armenian literature has a lot to offer to younger readers consisting of a wide variety of genres such as fantasy including folktales, fables, myths and legends, informational books, picture books, and poetry. The stories, especially the folk and fairy tales have strong instructive and moralizing features in them. They usually portray traditions, customs, lifestyle, social and civic values. That is what every Diasporan Armenian parent wants for their children far from Armenia: to get acquainted, digest, accept and be proud of the Armenian identity. Here are the six steps we picked to help you have your children listen to and then tell back to you Armenian folk and fairy tales:
Step one: Present an Armenian storybook as a gift for a special day and make sure you have Armenian books at home
Books make great presents – give them for birthdays, Christmas or just a special treat. Make sure you have Armenian storybooks at home so that children can see the books, touch them, go through the images of the book and eagerly wait for the day to be able to read them.
Step two: Read Armenian fairytales to children to bed
Make sure you have this great time with your children when they need it and enjoy it, because they will grow up very soon and reject the storytelling time to spend those hours on something else. Reading Armenian stories to bed will build their personality with Armenian identity features and values. Introduce the folk stories and fairytales to make sure they understand the culture and the identity of the nation they come from. Try to read slowly, and sometimes explaining the parts you think may be understood with difficulties. Repeat the complex sentences dividing into small parts. Make sure they digest the vocabulary and most importantly the meaning behind the story.
Step three: Listen to audiobooks of Armenian fairytales
You may find it hard to read out loud, or you may not have the reading skills for Armenian language. Don’t get desperate, nowadays there are a number of audio resources to help you out. It is recommended that you read the story yourself, because children like your voice and enjoy it, but if you do not have the skills, use the Armenian audiobooks which can be obtained with a simple search in Google. There are resources like Armenian Audiobook, Audiodaran, and Armenian fairytales audbooks available on Heqiat.am. Playland Armenia offers a free Storybook game, which you can discover in the platform visiting country Armenia. It has audios both in Western and Eastern Armenian languages. The digital stories are accompanied with colourful illustrations to make the ereading more interesting and impressive. Join Playland Armenia community and download the game now. We also have printable storybooks which you can get by joining Playland Armenia lifetime Membership for offline reading.
Step four: Ask questions about the content, characters and occurrences in the story
Start reading to bed earlier than their sleep time, so that after the story you have several minutes for questions, explanations and discussion. Ask questions about the characters and their activities. The characters in Armenian folk tales carry the values of an average Armenian and explaining the characters to children will help you to describe an Armenian person, or at least how should they act. Ask what happened in the story and why. If they can not answer, try to answer yourself explaining them the ideas and essence behind the story. Use simple words and phrases for explanations, so that children fill close to stories.
Step five: Have them repeat back to you, siblings or grandparents
Some children like doing this, some do not. And that is okay. Your child may not like to repeat it back. But you should try at least to persuade to tell to the siblings or to grandparent. Make them boast of the ability to tell a story and have them believe it is a super great power they possess. This will help them understand the stories better and most importantly, add vocabulary stock.