Creative story writing
We all want our kids to grow into resourceful, resilient, emotionally functional adults. And, in the search for this many of us will have read books and articles, and taken our children to clubs and classes. But there’s one activity you might not have thought of that’s simple, free, non-location specific and sorely underrated; and that’s writing stories.
When children (or adults actually) become engrossed writing or drawing an imaginary place, people, or event, their brain processes the activity it as it if it were real. This means that they get an opportunity to consider how they would deal with a runaway horse in the playground (and practice resourcefulness), a new best friend who was an alien (and exercise empathy), or an unfair accusation of a heinous crime (and consider their own resilience).
Through the power of their own creativity our children can live countless lives from the safety of their own home, and learn from them all. So, here are a few tips so that you can you help your children to get their stories out, and, more importantly, enjoy doing it.
Children love stories
Remember that, no matter what they might say, no children hate stories. We are wired to love and understand stories. We make sense of our lives through stories. We communicate our own unique stories to those around us every time we have a conversation. You could say we are made of stories! What we don’t like is being judged. This can be tricky as a parent because we know the pressures pupils are under to produce a high standard of writing, and it’s tempting to pick them up on their spelling or grammar. But just don’t. Leave that to their teachers. Let home be the place they write for fun.
Help your child with writing skills
Some children love telling stories, but find the actual writing difficult or tiring. Maybe you could scribe for them, let them use a computer, or record their story as a podcast? Remember that the development of the story is the hard and important bit, and value it above the words they manage to get on a page.
Stories spark imagination
Lack of inspiration? Children don’t usually have as much of a problem with this as adults because the world is most interesting and new to them. But if they’re stuck, stories seem to come easier away from home, so head out and show them how to be a story magpie. Go on a hunt to the park, a museum or the supermarket. Let them eavesdrop on a conversation on the bus (yes, I know it’s rude, but this is art, so it doesn’t count). Or even suggest they write some fan fiction; boys, in particular, seem to love writing their favourite tv/computer characters into their work, it’s not cheating, and is a great way to practice storytelling.
Give them privacy
Give them privacy. Buy them a notebook and promise that you won’t peek at their stories unless you’re invited to. And don’t! No, really, not even a little bit!
Inspire your children
Be an inspiration. Tell your children about what you did when you were their age. Recounting funny stories about your family or school or pets, will show them that you enjoy stories, and will bring you closer. With younger kids make up stories together at bedtime instead of reading a book. For super-parent Brownie points, type up their favourite one when they’re asleep and make it into a little book for them as a surprise.
Most importantly of all, remember that children have to do a lot of writing to order in schools. If you want to encourage them to explore their own creativity, let them do their own thing, in their own way. I promise you that you’ll be surprised and inspired by what they achieve.