Once upon a time there was a parent who wanted some quiet time with their child to reflect their day, it’s lessons, their love, and, not to mention, soften the path towards a peaceful night’s sleep. You could of course read one of the old chestnuts from the bookshelf, or you could reach out your heart, imagination, and intellect and tell them a story.
Tell stories from your own childhood. When your children hear about your own muddles, misunderstandings, successes and failures, you subtly give them permission to have their own as they grow and experience this world.
Tell the stories of your family. They won’t be recorded in history books and if you don’t share them they will disappear with each generation.
You can also create a binding that will last for a lifetime, a completely original bedtime story created for just that little person curled up and ready for sleep.
“Once upon a time there was” and here you create the animal or character that stands for the child before you. Imbue the story character with many of your own child’s traits without actually making them mirror images.
“There was a problem in the land.” Now you can choose from any of the days events and simply transform them into this once upon a time world by making them bigger, sillier, scarier. Let’s say you and your child had been caught in a long, miserable, traffic jam. “The mouse princess was on her way to a festival in the country when the forrest path was suddenly so crowded with creatures traveling that she could not move to the left or right. She could not press forward or back! What could she do?” Have your child help you discover a way for the mouse to simply bear the inconvenience gracefully, turn it into something wonderful, or discover a clever way to escape it. Weave their ideas into the tale so that the main character always emerges the hero or heroine and the story concludes with the mouse getting to her destination and living, for that day at least, happily ever after.
Your original co-authored bedtime tales will bloom. They will help your children conceive of new ways to deal with difficult situations. They will reinforce your lives together. They will link you through a unique form of communication, and finally they will enable your child to be the hero/heroine of their world. Tell stories!