Updated: Sep 17, 2019
My kids love story telling, and I do too. Honestly, I started telling stories to my children to avoid reading to them, because most nights I would be so tired that I would fall asleep reading. Making up stories allowed me to at least shut my eyes and make memories with my kids!
Here are 10 simple strategies to use when you start story telling with your children. These strategies will help you tell amazing, out of this world, stories, and give your imagination a super boost.
1. Develop characters that your child likes. A creature or object that you know your child enjoys is perfect, maybe it's a cat, hippo, or firetruck. My son seems to like Alligator stories. 2. Start each story the same, every time. We start ours with, "Once upon a time, there was a..." Starting the same way every time builds a routine and builds anticipation. (both these are superpower tools for increasing language skills) 3. Pause often. You are not just telling a story; you are creating a story with your child, and when you pause during different places you allow the child the opportunity to fill in the blank. "Andy was a mean/green/confused... Alligator." You can pause at any point. Just know your pausing so that your child will HELP you fill in the blank. If after a few seconds your child hasn't offered to fill in the blank, don't worry. Keep going. 4. Add attributes. Include colors, shapes, sizes, smells, texture, and emotion words in your story. By using descriptive words, we are helping our children SEE what they hear. This is an imagination building block. 5. Use your story to teach lessons or reinforce habits in your home. Maybe John is hitting his friends, scared to go to school, or doesn't like vegetables. Or perhaps you have a big trip coming up and talking about the expectations for the flight might help him on the airplane. Maybe hearing about Andy Alligator's ears hurting, and how "he needed to drink water to make them better" will help your child stay calm when he has a similar experience. Whatever you decide, creating a story with your child about something unique to him will allow him to better understand situations, events, and expectations. 6. Anything can come to life. A fork can be a best friend (hello. Toy Story!). The dump truck can talk, and an alligator can teach the fish how to ride his bike. No mistakes in storytelling! 7. Repeat. Try to repeat your story often (a few times a week, if possible). It doesn't have to be a "word for word" retell, but the characters and ideas are still there. Routine is good for the brain. It is gets the brain primed for learning, and is good for developing language skills. 8. Give the child the reins. After building a routine of story telling with your child, give them the reins, and let them start the story. You may want to have your phone handy to record. I guarantee their stories will be amazing!
9. Tell stories everywhere! Story telling doesn't have to be only for bedtime. Create a story on the walk the park, driving in the car, or while getting dinner ready. 10. Be animated. I know this is easier for some of us (cough, cough) but kids (especially toddlers and preschoolers) love it when you change your voice and use your body to tell a story.
As always, thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read.