Most of us have fond memories of fairy tales. Fairy tales include anything from certain timeless, magical animated films to classic books and stories. A fairy tale is a short story that tends to feature heavy connections to European folklore, magic, talking animals, and mystical creatures thrown together to make a fantastic story.
Famous examples of fairy tales include:
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- Hansel and Gretel
- Little Red Riding Hood
Many fairy tales date back to the 1600s and earlier, and most of the famous ones today come from the Brothers Grimm and their collection of European folklore.
Children love fairy tales because of the sense of wonder that comes from reading them. A fairy tale is a deep story, and many children connect to them because of the universal themes such as friendship, love, loss, growth, good, and evil.
The Importance and Benefits of Fairy Tales
Fairy tales benefit children in many ways. The first is that they are usually good stories. Fairy tales involve characters that the children can relate to or look up to. Typical protagonists in a fairy tale include knights, princes, princesses, elves, dwarfs, children, and other exciting types of characters. These characters find themselves in great peril and must use their wits, luck, and collected efforts to claim victory in the name of all that is good.
Children also benefit from fairy tales because these types of stories come with various life lessons, morals, and deep wisdom. In Snow White the titular character finds herself in need of the seven mystical dwarfs in order to succeed in defeating the evil witch. Each dwarf has a different flaw – but also a different strength. Together they form a great party of adventurers and triumph over evil.
To a child’s mind a fairy tale hits all of the sweet spots, and this is important because it is key that your child exercises his or her imagination. A strong imagination helps a healthy brain to form.
Sheila Kohler on Psychology Today said that “it seems very important to me, perhaps even more important today, that these ancient stories should be repeated again and again. The violence within them is always contained within a satisfying structure with a reversal, and the requisite happy ending. Here good and evil are so conveniently and completely separate. There are no grey areas in the fairy tale.”
This distinction between good and evil helps the child to relate to the prince, princess, or other hero character and take from them important lessons on behavior and handling difficult situations.
Give Your Child Fairy Tales
As a parent there is plenty that you can do, but most important is to give your child fairy tales to digest. Either read some to them, or if the child can read herself, offer them a collection of classic fairy tales.
Fairy tales are great, fun teachers, and exciting tools to open up a child’s mind. By exposing your young one to fairy tales you are including them in a timeless tradition.