What makes a good children’s story?

Children’s stories; we have all read them, watched them, or been told them. Most of us have that special story that our parents used to read for us when we were younger; that one story that was unique to you and that you know that you will always remember. Maybe, and just maybe, do you remember it well enough to tell it to your children, only for them to tell it to theirs, making it immortal in some shape or form. Personally, when I was a child, my dad would tell me a story about a man who lived in a series of castles, connected by tunnels, which he would use to escape from enemies who wanted to steal the diamonds he had made. This man had mastered making diamonds by compressing coal very compactly, and become incredibly rich doing so. He had injured his hands from previous explosions, and had to come up with interesting new ways to compress the coal. While it may not sound super interesting, it is probably the best bedtime story that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. However, what is it that actually makes a bedtime story good? Why do we remember some for decades and forget some the day after? Here are some factors which can make a children’s story a good one.

Do not be too detailed

While a story can go to great lengths to describe every single aspect in great detail, it is most typically better to leave some detail out. This allows the child to use their imagination while listening to the story, and come up with some details themselves. For example, having a detailed description of what every character looks or sounds like will take away from the creative process of assigning those traits on your own, which ultimately makes the story less engaging. Therefore, try not to add excessive detail in order to allow the child to fill in the gaps of the fairytale by themselves.

Add some moral lessons

One aspect of children’s stories which can be great is the possibility to add moral lessons. Moral lessons can be anything which may teach the child something morally or ethically practical, whether that be a lesson about loyalty or a lesson about friendship. Many of the all time classic stories such as Hansel and Gretel, or “The Emperor’s New Clothes” feature moral lessons. For example, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” tells a story about the perception that others have of you, and how we are often willingly able to blindly follow those in power. These types of stories tend to withstand the test of time, and tend to be liked by kids of many different ages. Therefore, a good kid’s story often contains some moral lessons.

Mix in some difficult language

Children’s stories can be incredible tools for teaching a child some more advanced language. While the language of all stories should be adapted to the age of the intended audience for that story, it can be good to add in some slightly more advanced words every now and then in order to allow children to learn and develop from the language in the fairytale. If this is done in a manner such that the child can themselves quite easily fill in the blank, then they will end up learning the meaning of these advanced words. This will also help improve the child’s general language skills.

In summary, a good children’s story typically contains enough detail for the child to be able to work out and imagine some of the details on their own. This will foster creativity and make the story more interactive for the child. Furthermore, moral lessons are typically traits of good children’s bedtime stories, and it allows the child to feel as if they are learning. Finally, mixing in some more difficult language where it makes sense can allow the child to learn more from the story than they otherwise would have. These are just some of the traits of goof children’s stories. You can find plenty of great children’s stories on the WonderSagas app – download it and start a free, 2 week trial today!