Despite half of parents surveyed saying storytelling time enables them to spend quality time with their children, and 47 per cent knowing their children enjoy having stories read to them, UK parents are becoming too busy to read to their kids.
Offering tips, tricks and guidance designed to help modern parents create shared family story time experiences, Disney has brought together a panel of storytelling experts to form the Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy which includes broadcaster and mum-of-two, Zoe Ball, child psychologist Emma Kenny, and Disney’s Justine Finch.
The research found that, in such a digital age, rather than embracing its positive potential a massive two thirds of parents and grandparents polled feel that modern technology in the home is distracting them from storytelling. As well as this, almost a third of the Parenting population are too tired for tales, while another third feel that they get home from work too late, and a further fifth feel distracted by other activities at home.
I am a great believer in the magic of bedtime stories and hope that the Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy will inspire other parents. When I was young my dad would enthusiastically read tales...
Disney surveyed 1,000 UK parents and grandparents of children under six years and found mums are twice as likely to be found book-in-hand at bedtime, followed by dads and grandparents. In fact, children prefer mums followed by grandparents, while dads lag behind. The only places in the country to buck this trend are East Anglia, the Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber, where grandparents and dads take the lead on telling stories.
Lack of confidence to blame
Lacking confidence in storytelling may be to blame, as over one third of parents and grandparents wish they were better storytellers. It is the UK male population who claim to lack in confidence with only just over half of those polled rating themselves as ‘good’ story tellers, compared to over two thirds of women polled. One potential reason for this that the survey revealed might be that women were read to more when they were children.
The survey also shows that confidence in storytelling comes with experience as a whopping 81 per cent of those aged over 55 regard themselves as good storytellers compared to 44 per cent of 18-24 year olds. Additionally, traditional tales remain most popular as the vast majority (84 per cent) of the respondents nostalgically favour stories that they themselves were read as children.
Interestingly, it is the younger age group who are more nostalgic – those aged 18-24 years are most likely to read their children the same stories that they were read as children and over a quarter prefer to tell classic stories like Winnie the Pooh, with only a very small percentage preferring to make up their own stories. Those from the land of great poets, Wales, are the most likely to be found conjuring up their own bedtime tales for kids.
Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy
Disney's Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy is an online resource offering a wide range of tips, tricks and guidance designed to show modern parents how both traditional and modern multimedia storytelling techniques can help them achieve a rich, shared family story time experience.
Zoe Ball, TV and Radio presenter and mother of two, said: “I am a great believer in the magic of Bedtime Stories and hope that the Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy will inspire other parents. When I was young my dad would enthusiastically read tales of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and friends to me, and put on daft voices to really bring the story to life. These are memories which I treasure and now I can share those special Bedtime Stories with my own children."
Justine Finch, Winnie the Pooh expert at Disney, said: “Disney has a rich heritage in bringing to life the tales of Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, and bringing stories to life is something we want to encourage UK parents to do. We set up the Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy as a valuable online resource where parents and grandparents who face storytelling challenges such as a lack of confidence or distractions can go to pick up tips and tricks from our panel of experts.
“In this hyper-connected world we want to help them to keep the art of storytelling alive for the next generation via a whole host of media like iPad apps, audio books and the traditional hardback, to create memorable shared family experiences," she said.
The Disney Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy can be found here: www.disney.co.uk/winniethepooh/storytelling