The Best Bedtime Stories for the Kids

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Thinzar Kyaw M.A. Student, International Buddhist College, Thailand.


Buddhism possesses the most effective practices through which to instruct all human beings how to live in society peacefully, happily and harmoniously. The best guidance comes from the teachings of the Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. A useful source to guide such practices are the jātakas. As one part of his teachings, these are presented as reproaches on his disciples’ wrongdoings. In this paper, I will propose the use of jātakas as bedtime stories through which to build a firm Buddhist foundation in the minds of children.

Storytelling uses a pedagogy that has mental, social and educational benefits for children. Children greatly enjoy stories and love to listen to them. Storytelling involves either reading out stories or reciting them from memory. Although there are many stories and many children who want to listen to them, parent-storytellers are becoming rarer and rarer. In this paper, I highlight importance of stories for children.

As parents are children’s first teachers, they can shape their children’s knowledge in the way they want. Storytelling is very important in cultivating a seed of Buddhism during children’s formative years. This paper focuses on the Buddha’s stories that are concerned with basic practices of Buddhism, who are retold through children’s parents.

There is no parent who does not hope for their child to have education and higher living standard in the future. Many people are not happy and satisfied with what they have in the world, even though they might live luxurious lifestyles. However, Buddhist parents should equally concentrate on the cultivation of their children’s spiritual and moral values rather than on cultivation of materialistic values alone.

Keywords: jātakas, storytelling, parents,