When my son was 5, every Friday, I tried to tell him original bedtime stories. Unfortunately, I was bad at it. So I did what any creatively struggling Dad would do with his son… I made up a story about a superhero (I our case Batman, my first attempt was Spiderman, but that flopped)… Batman was easy, because of the dual identity, the cool gadgets and vehicles, and of course the Batcave!
My partially made up Batman stories were a hit, my son looked forward to hearing them each Friday. I even tried to imbed morals and a bit of a life lessons in some of them. It was so much easier then trying to come up with an original story about of the blue. Don’t get me wrong, even using the Batman themed stories, was tough, after all I was making the stories up in real time (I had a lot of Ummms and pauses initially, but I got better). After a while, he started in on the creative process telling his own stories after mine. Surprisingly, he liked to tell Spongebob Squarepants stories. He started these when he was six. We had a great time, and we have some solid memories! I wish I had recorded them, but unfortunately, I didn’t (please consider Camcording these stories if you decide to try this)! I would pay a pretty penny to have all of his stories in a recorded format today (and I’m sure I would be will to pay a lot more in the future, this “miss” is truly a lost treasure).
As he turned 6, then 7, the stories moved to every other Friday and I had to change the format (he no longer liked Batman as much). So we had some Fireman, and the Star Wars Jedi stories… and then when his life became busier (sports, pokemon, homework, legos and Nintendo DS…) we eventually stopped all together.
Now it’s my daughter’s turn. This time things are different, I’m not using a popular character like Dora or My little Petshop animal (although she probably would enjoy those type of stories too). Instead, I’m creating different worlds and travelling back in time to tell my stories. Now we talk about a girl in a magical castle that looks a lot like my daughter, or we teleport to the world of “Azul”, where this word is completely water covered except for 1 small island. In Azul, our human equivalents live in the water and are mermaid-like creatures. It’s also different this time too, because periodically, my daughter will create illustrations (that’s what she calls them instead of pictures) that go with her stories (she does this earlier in the day), in anticipation. Like my son, we do a story exchange. Great memories… I still need to camcord or at least audio record the storytelling. Now that I’m writing this, I think I will do that for the next storytime sessions (they occur on every other Friday). It’s funny how by my writing about it now, I finally realize that these story sessions are worth a lot to me. Not to mention my wife, perhaps she would like to hear a story that our daughter created!
I know this isn’t a typical financial post, but I would like to say that the bonding with your child and the memories formed while telling such stories could someday be a great treasure your child will cherish in their adult lives.
Even if you don’t want to expend the energy on creating your own stories (although I would encourage doing so), just reading stories at night time once a week could be a great experience too! My wife reads the kids a story every night except Fridays (that’s my night), and they seem to really enjoy it.
I really enjoyed hearing my kid’s made up stories. Some of the ones my daughter has told me has floored me! She’s getting pretty good at it!