Updated: Oct 7, 2022
The importance of reviewing stories, whether in books or movies, before sharing with your Grands can’t be overstated. Whether it’s because of family values, age appropriateness, or to avoid frightening a child, we need to be careful of what we put into the hearts and minds of our young Grands. They are impressionable and innocent!
Since I brought up innocence, let’s pause on that issue for a moment. These days, children are being exposed to many adult concepts and ideas at earlier and earlier ages. While it is wise to prepare children for the world in which they’ll live, is it necessary to steal away their childhood by overinforming immature minds?
We, as grandparents and parents, have the opportunity and responsibility to train our children. We protect them when they are young, teach them as they grow, then send them into a difficult world where we know they will have some learning experiences. If we have done our job well, we will watch them survive the trials. They will thrive into adulthood and their own path.
Tips for Reviewing Stories
With this in mind, what might we consider when we review stories, books, and movies?
Is the story age-appropriate?
Are there concepts or messages we find adverse to our chosen family values?
Is the material frightening to the degree that a young child might have nightmares? Could permanent fears develop as a result of hearing or seeing the story?
Does the story teach a lesson or value we find important in our family values system?
Is there room for discussion about the story that might benefit the child?
Is this story good for later?
Can we clearly identify why the story does not seem suitable for our Grands? Understanding the whys and why nots of what we put into young minds helps us as we search for appropriate stories.
Please allow me to share a thought on the issue of fear in stories. All stories need some level of conflict and tension to be appealing. We expect stories to have a structure that leads to a satisfying conclusion. For children, whose imagination has either not yet been fully developed or is prone to wild exaggeration, careless story choices can lead to very real terror becoming an unwelcome part of storytime. Bedtime sleep problems can be one symptom of poorly chosen stories. I’ve watched it with both children and grandchildren and have very strong feelings about NOT telling scary stories before bedtime.
Conversely, I’ve seen how pleasant, imaginative stories shared during quiet time in the dark while children are already tucked into bed can lead to peaceful, full nights of sleep for both children and adults. This is just one facet of the wisdom of reviewing stories and movies for their content prior to sharing them with your Grands.
What’s your experience with the importance of reviewing stories for storytime and how to make it a grand experience?