Importance of Fairy Tales

by Tolovaj

In modern times we too often forget the importance of reading fairy tales to our kids. Why are fairy tales so important?

Classic fairy tales are not just popular stories for children. They have numerous benefits which can be used to help us raising our kids to mature and responsible persons.

Fairy tales teach us about ourselves and our society, help us to find solutions for variety of problems, tell us what is right and wrong and of course they have incredibly comforting effect.

You may still ask why are fairy tales good for children? Here is the top 10 list of reasons why fairy tales matter!

(Image credit: Gutenberg.org, PD licence)

Vocabulary and basic logic

Building vocabulary with fairy tales1. Without rich vocabulary we can never have quality communication. All sorts of stories for kids are made exactly for that: to enrich children's vocabulary. With books for kids learning new words is fast and fun process.

Fairy tales are stories with classic structure: introduction, body and conclusion. They help children with organizing some sometimes not so easy understandable or too abstract terms like time (before, than), relatives (son, father, grand father), consequences (action, reaction)... All these give them opportunity to understand others and improve their own narration skills.

 (Image credit: Clker.com, PD licence)

Imagination, creativity, persistance

2. Imagination is obvious association when we talk about fairy tales. It seem just everything is possible in a fairy tale. Beggar can become a king, a king can be transformed into a frog and even death is not irreversible process. We deal with magic mirrors, flying carpets, cloaks of invisibility and only the imagination is the limit.

As Albert Einstein said: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

3. Every fairy tale is of course made around problem (or problems) and finding ways to solve it (them). Stories present very different problems and many of them look unsolvable but in the end (well, in most cases) problem is solved and main character achieves something what seemed out of his reach.

4. In most times the hero of the story have to repeat some tasks to reach the goal or maybe he (she) has to spend many years to find the solution to his (her) problem. This way fairy tales are telling no problem is too big if we persist in finding ways to solve it. Living in 21st century where jobs are unreliable and live constantly demands new knowledge and new skills from us, creativity should be appreciated more than ever.

Fantastic settings are almost a must in fairy tales

Alice in Woderland by Jessie Willcox Smith
Alice in Woderland by Jessie Willcox ...
Wikipedia.org

Cultural and philosophical importance of fairy tales

5. Fairy tales came from other (sometimes very distant) places and other times to talk to us here and now. With fairy tales it is very easy to explain out children how looked life centuries ago, how were relations in society than and how some things have changed and other have not.

With folk tales we don't only learn about different customs, different people, different patterns of thinking but how some things can actually be changed too!

6. Fairy tales and their relatives like myths, legends, fables... help us finding the answers on most difficult question in human history: "Who we are?", "Why are we here?" and "Where are we going?"

Reading to kids can really broaden their horizons
Reading to kids can really broaden their horizons
clker.com

Parent child bonding and sense of community

7. We live in alienated times where the main problem is lack of time. Parents, especially in families where both parents build their careers, simply don't have enough time to be with their kids.

Many families in most developed countries can find only few minutes (!) per day for so important thing as building family bonds. With so little time it is so much more important to spend it wise. And what can be more genuine than storytelling with optional talk after the story ends? Fairy tales are great to make deep and powerful bonds for connecting generations.

With storytelling and talking about outcome of the fairy tale we can build solid cornerstones for decades of quality communication!

8. Sense of community is social, sociological and psychological concept, an invisible glue which holds together a lot of individuals and connect them in powerful unity where one plus one makes more than two. Sharing fairy tales and similar stories through different circles of the society we can feel how many similarities we really have no matter how different we look to each other at first sight.

European countries like Italy or Germany were build from many small entities with a help of fairy tales collectors!

(Image credit: Clker.com, PD licence)

Consolation and empathy

9. Fairy tales have extremely powerful consolation effect. No matter what happens, children know there is still hope right to the end of the story. Yes, in most cases happy ending does the trick, but there are also many beautiful fairy tales with sad ending (think about Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen) with just as powerful impact.

We shall never forget how important was considered classical Greek tragedy for its catharsis and we shall never prevent our kids from all the sorrow in this world. They will experience it sooner or later and it is much better to learn a thing or two safe in our laps than alone and unprepared in the cold streets.

10. If I would have to choose only one benefit of fairy tales for children, it would be empathy. Through stories kids learn to compassion with characters, they identify with their problems and they learn from their experience.

Empathy is not in top demand nowadays but it is the one making us human. If we want our species to remain human, we should definitely read fairy tales to our children.

We all have been lost this or other way
We all have been lost this or other way
Archive.org

More resources for you

Blog about fairy tales, their hidden meanings and everything related to fairy tales
Amazing facts about famous fairy tales, authors, illustrators and so on and on and on...

Slikanice in knjige za otroke (in Slovene language)
My blog about picture books and books I read; why I like some and why not others

Benefits of reading
About benefits of reading, not only fairy tales but all sorts of texts, not only for children, but for everybody.

Updated: 05/19/2015, Tolovaj
 
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I could go on and on with benefits of fairy tales and I bet you can add at least one more...


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Tolovaj on 06/01/2013

Well said, WriterArtist, I think the new trend is too focused on visual perception, so action is always first, story comes much later (if any) and moral (well, who cares about the moral in these times...). Fortunately I noticed some people openly oppose this trend and I have seen channels specialized for cartoons for kids without ANY violence and still great fun to watch.
And yes - I enjoy fairy tales as adult even more as I was as a kid!

WriterArtist on 06/01/2013

Even as an adult, I enjoy fairy tales - I cannot agree with you more.
I just hate the violence and the gory stories that are telecasted on the channels, I wish it was more of anecdotes that contained moral lessons.

Tolovaj on 09/03/2012

It is interesting how often we underestimate literature for children and how much it can offer (not all, of course) when we take time to actually open a book. It should really not be considered as mere entertainment.
Thanks, corrjo!

CorrinnaJohnson on 09/03/2012

I was fortunate to take a children's literature course in University and I found it one of the most fascinating and rewarding classes that I have taken. Love fairy tales:)

Tolovaj on 08/13/2012

Thanks, Mira, for your comment. About stories, you couldn't find elsewhere... There is huge archive of old books on several addresses on the web. Project Gutenberg would be a great place to start:)

Mira on 08/10/2012

I agree with the points you have highlighted. Fairy tales help children understand the way life works, with its sorrows, its trials, and the preseverance and difficult experiences that lead to success. It also helps them put themselves in the shoes of other people and see many points of view. I also think it's wonderful when people read these stories to their children or grandchildren, or when they memorize them and share them that way -- I have wonderful memories, for instance, of my grandmother, who told me stories I didn't even find elsewhere.

Tolovaj on 07/25/2012

Thanks, Pinkchic18, I'll try my best:)

Pinkchic18 on 07/25/2012

Great article! I agree, there are so many reasons to keep them going :)

Tolovaj on 06/20/2012

You are right, sheilamarie.
Not only Cinderella (by the way, covered in one of my articles too), there are many themes, mostly dealing with growing up, taking responsibility, finding place in society, making friends...

sheilamarie on 06/20/2012

I agree that reading fairy tales to children is very important. Some of the fairy tale themes are common to our humanity. For example, there are Cinderella stories in many many cultures of the world.


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