By Georgia Lohan
Children are amazing at stall tactics! When it’s time to go to bed they pull out their long list of questions, demands, and favors that they need. It usually sounds something like this, “Can I have a drink of water?” or “Why is the sky blue?” and my favorite, “Will you tell me just one more story please?”. While you are going to have to put your foot down at some point to get the wee ones into bed and sleeping for the night it’s hard to turn down a story.
Bedtime stories are an important part of the bedtime routine. Telling your child stories helps to shape their world, form their minds, and instill creativity and imagination in little ones. It’s also a great time to take a break from an otherwise busy day and just have a quiet bonding moment with your child. It’s fun to read stories like the ones on Rafael the Unicorn, but it’s also fun to create bedtime stories just for your child. Here are some tips to help you put your own imagination to use.
Make the story about your child
Make up a story about your child but be creative. Turn them into a fairy princess, a brave knight, a mermaid, or world-famous surfer. Stories come alive to children when they play the main role. They will be on edge waiting to hear what kind of adventure they are going to have and how they will overcome the obstacles.
Hide a lesson within the story
Bedtime stories are a great time to teach your child a lesson without them even realizing it. If you know they have been facing a specific situation that is difficult for them turn it into a story. Change it enough that they don’t know what you are trying to do but have the lesson shine through. If your child is facing a big life change, like the arrival of a new brother or sister, create a story about an animal or child that is experiencing the same thing. You can explain obstacles and challenges that are in the situation but wrap it all up with a happy ending.
Let your children create the story with you
Children love to use their imagination. As you tell the story have them fill in the blanks for you. It makes it a little more challenging for you because you will have to run with the ideas that they throw out to you, but they will enjoy the experience. Your child can choose the destinations, the characters names, what their pets are, what kind of food they main character is eating, or what their superpower is. The thing they are choosing doesn’t matter near as much as the fact that they are getting to be a part of it.
Tell personal stories
Children love to hear stories about when you were little or when their grandparents were children. Bedtime stories don’t have to be made up on the spot. Instead of creating a story you can always share a memory or story with them. Their little minds will engage with wanting to know more about what Grandma was like when she was little or the silly thing that happened when you were a child at school.
Build the story over multiple nights
There are a few ways that you can do this. The first is to have a character that all your stories are about. So, instead of always having to come up with new details you can simply keep the characters and many details the same and then just create a new challenge that he or she encounters each night. But, beware that your children will remember all the stories so make sure you don’t tell the same one twice. The other way you can do this is to only tell the portion of a longer story each night. This would be similar to reading them one chapter from a chapter book each night.
Remember that more important than the details of the story is the fact that you are spending quality time with your child. So, put away all your distractions and take a few minutes each night to enter the world of your child.
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