Fairy tales are often what colors our childhood and facilitates our dreams. They are filled with sadness and happiness. Love and loss. Good vs. evil. When researching the top fairy tales, Cinderella, Beauty & The Beast and Hansel & Gretel came up in the top 10. It is interesting to realize that most fairy tales introduce a family that already has suffered a loss of either a mother or a father. The topic is briefly addressed but the “why’s” are not explained in detail.
When I think about the many fairy tales that I have read or watched, the first thing that comes to mind is a dream to find a prince, marry him and live happily ever after. I love the idea that a fairy tale takes your imagination to the next level. Where the mice design dresses, where commoners live in castles and where candy houses exist. You have to admit that these stories would be pretty bland if it weren’t for these elements of opportunities.
They make us feel so warm and happy when good wins over evil and when the truth prevails.
I love the idea of embracing childhood as it really is a fleeting time in life. As grateful as I am in my life, I appreciate the quote “Adulting is overrated.” Those of us that had what would be considered a normal childhood now realize that playing, creating, singing and dancing is “where it was at”. It was the essence of childhood. Putting on plays, dressing up and lip syncing brought so much joy and laughter to my childhood memories. (The amount of juggling and daily stresses/pressures makes sneaking back into the early years very appealing).
As unrealistic as fairy tales may seem, children don’t see the tale as make believe because they still have an untarnished imagination. These stories just fuel their interests. And that is why a child will often role play what they have seen (or experienced in their brain). But there is and always has been good vs. evil. We all like to be saved by our sufferings or rescued by a hero. And now as adults we might listen to music to take us away from our situation momentarily… a child naturally implements this in their lives.
So besides expanding your child’s imagination, fairy tales can also boost your child’s cultural literacy. If you read different versions of the story from other countries. (Ex: The Korean Cinderella and the Egyptian Cinderella). These stories make reading and learning enjoyable. Fairy tales also teach children about decisions, consequences and morals. These stories often have a moral of the story (ex: good will prevail, don’t walk home alone etc….) And lastly, Fairy tales teach children about story structure. Fairy tales follow a precise beginning (once upon a time…), middle (problem) and an end (and they lived happily ever after). Understanding story structure helps children learn how to tell a story and develops their thinking and comprehension too.
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Albert Einstein