tv appearances

Family storytelling over the holidays

Most of us know how important it is to read to children from an early age, but you may not know how beneficial it is to tell stories to children of all ages – both made up stories and real stories from your own experience. Holiday gatherings are a great time to get started in a way that can promote children’s emotional understanding and strengthen family relationships.


Marti shared with KARE 11 News at 11’s Zachery Lashway these ways to get started with family storytelling:

1) At a family gathering, ask adults to tell a short story or anecdote about the scariest, happiest, most embarrassing, most exciting (and so on!) thing they remember from their childhood.

2) Have kids choose an adult and ask that person to tell them a story about when they were the child’s age. Prompts could include asking about a best friend, favorite teacher, chores they had to do, etc.

3) To turn the tables on the suggestion above, have adults ask the kids to tell a story from their life about the same thing.

4) Use a sentence completion task to draw out interesting stories. For example, “When I was naughty, my parents would ________________.”

5) For a fun game at a large family gathering, ask each person to write down something others might not know about them. Then have one person read each statement out loud while everyone guesses who wrote it.

6) To help develop people’s creativity and imagination, do a chain story, where one person starts the story (offering 2 or 3 sentences) and then the next person picks up where that person left off, and so on.

7) Instead of reading a bedtime story to your children every night, sometimes tell them a story instead – maybe making up a fun adventure with your child as the central character. Or ask your child to suggest a topic and make up a short story around that.


To view the video of this KARE 11 News at 11 segment, play the video box above.

To read Marti’s The Power of Family Storytelling tip sheet, click here.

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