At times you may find it very difficult to follow what your toddler is saying even when the words are coming out clear. What may have gone amiss here is that your child may not be able to tell you about the event as it has happened step by step.
Narrative skills in children is the basic knowledge that every narration or story telling will have a beginning, middle and an end in that order. Saying things in order will make more sense and will contribute later in reading and comprehensive skills in your child. You can help to cultivate the love of stories and the art of telling stories in the early childhood years of your child for better learning in future.
Where to start
When you were out with your child on a picnic or shopping, ask him/her to tell you about the trip. If your partner was not present with you, your child can narrate the day’s event to the absent parent. Make your toddler start from the beginning, go the middle and then come to an end. If your child is not narrating the events in order, guide him/her by reminding what you did before that.
For E.g. – If your child says, “We bought two colouring books today”, ask him/her gently, “What did we do before that?” “How did we get to the shop?”
This will help your child to understand to narrate the events in order.
Encourage your child to describe things around him/her. Always ask open ended questions which will bring forth narrative answers from your child rather than asking close ended questions which will have Yes/No answers.
Make your child tell how he/she put on shoes, what they ate for breakfast, what did they do in the morning- all the time guiding them to tell evens in order. Make it fun and interesting and make sure that your child knows that you are very much involved in the communication.
Introduce simple stories like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” to your child. Once your child is familiar with the stories, ask your child to narrate it to you and show interest in listening to the story.
Retelling stories is one of the best ways for your child to understand how stories work. This will also help your child with the ability to write well later on. If your child is struggling with narration, help by providing enough scaffolding to complete the narration.