Children love to hear stories, especially from their parents. They love to hear any little stories that you make up. It can really be so very simple. And yet it takes courage to tell stories. We tend to get worked up about it, in our heads about it before we even begin. For the children, they just love to hear a story from you in your own words from your own heart and it doesn’t have to be anything that would ever get published or shared with anyone else.
There are so many wonderful timeless stories which you can read and tell to your children (such as fairy tales, folk tales, and classic children’s literature), and those are the stories which take center stage in the Lavender’s Blue Kindergarten curriculum. But I think it can be really wonderful to also just make up stories to tell at any time during the day. Maybe you tell a story while you go for a walk, while you fold laundry, on a long car ride, or just before bed.
These are the spontaneous stories and they speak to your child not because they are timeless, but rather because they are very much grounded in the present time for your child – her daily life, experiences, environment, and interests. The stories are alive for one magical moment.
You can take your inspiration from your child’s daily life and surroundings, the animals in your backyard, the “adventures” you have taken or the ones that are coming up soon. I like to tell stories to prepare the children whenever there’s going to be a disruption in their usual lives, such as an out-of-town visitor, an upcoming trip or holiday, papa going out of town, or a move. I also like to tell stories about whatever my children are fascinated by at the moment, such as their birth story or fairies or what kind of mischief mama did when she was a child.
Stories that you make up can help your child to make sense of her daily experience, and they are also a powerful way to connect with your child. They give her a feeling of “you get me,” “you are seeing what I’m seeing too,” and definitely a feeling of “I love you and you love me.”
I want to give you an idea of how simple stories can be. Here’s a story that I made up on the fly for Sierra when she was 2 years old. I remember it word for word because she asked for it over and over and over (to the point that 4-year-old Aiya could tell it word for word as well!). This story spoke to what was important to Sierra at that time. Your stories will be inspired by your own children!
Sierra’s Doggy Story
Once upon a time there was a little girl and she wanted to have a doggy of her very own. She asked her mama, “Can I have a doggy?” “No, I’m sorry,” said her mama, “But we can’t have a doggy!” So she asked her papa, “Can I have a doggy?” “No, I’m sorry,” said her papa, “But we can’t have a doggy!” So the little girl asked her friend, “Do you have a doggy for me?” and her friend said, “I don’t have a doggy for you!” Then she asked her neighbor, “Do you have a doggy for me?” “I’m sorry,” said her neighbor, I don’t have a doggy for you.” But the little girl really, really wanted a doggy of her own! So she asked her Grandma Jean, “Do you have a doggy for me?” and her Grandma Jean said, “Yes, I do have a doggy for you! Her name is Molly and she lives at my house. But you can come and play with her anytime you like.” So the little girl went to Grandma Jean’s house and she played with Molly. She brushed her fur, she put food and water in her bowl, she took her for a walk, and she gave her a hug and pet her gently. And the little girl loved playing with doggy Molly, and Molly loved playing with her too!
Now it’s your turn!
Do you make up stories to tell your children? What stories do they like to hear? Or if storytelling feels intimidating (and you are not alone!) share that too and I’ll see if I can help!