Writing Short Stories For and About Your Child
Writing short stories or letters to your children is a thoughtful and unique way to express your love and can be something you both look back on with a smile. A special story created just for them with their interests in mind can lead you in many different directions and spark creativity.If your intention as a writer is to please one child, whom you know deeply, whose emotions are directly related to your story, you will approach your project differently. You are not seeking to create the next great children’s book, but rather an adventure to please, delight and nurture the special child in your life. There are many children’s stories that were written simply to amuse and delight one child that have become classics, such as Stuart Little, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. You can even involve your child in the process by letting them choose the character's names (be sure to have the hero /heroine named after them), or develop the story line. You can tell your stories aloud during long car trips and see how they evolve or write them down to read at bedtime.
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Getting Started on Your Story
Start by sitting for a few minutes and reflecting on what you appreciate most about your child. Consider what they are struggling with in their life, what they dream of doing in the future and to whom they are most deeply connected.
Write down everything that comes to mind. Include a list of their hobbies, favorite events or holidays, vacations and friends names. When they are engaged in pretend play, what do they pretend to be? Where do they pretend to be? Who do they imagine is with them?
Do they have a favorite pet, stuffed animal or action figure that they might enjoy hearing a story about? Will your story have a message or moral? Will it be just for fun? Do you want your child to feel a certain way when they read it, like loved, accepted or inspired? Do you want your child to learn something from the story, have a good laugh or stretch their imagination?
Often, just coming up with a title can send you off and writing. Kids love having their name in the title. Here are a few quick ideas that could easily be expanded on, just insert your child’s name or his favorite toy’s identity:
- Fluffy the Bunny’s Adventures on Maple Street
- Jack’s Magic Train Ride
- Kayla and The Garden Fairies
- Sam Finds A Treasure Map
Encouraging Kids to be Creative
- If your child has a favorite picture book, rewrite it just for them and let them illustrate it.
- Find a journal and write letters to your child. Review a day you spent together, either ordinary or special.
- Keep a journal of their life, of how you feel about them, and what they have taught you. Your child will love to hear how their presence in your life has changed you for the better.
- Tell them in a letter how they have impacted people around them. Include good things they have done for their brother, sister or friends.
- Tell them what your hopes are for their future, for example: “I wish for you all the joy that you have brought me.” Please do not place large expectations on them in your letter or story!
- Are you proud of your child? Write about it for them. Increase their confidence with your kind and encouraging words! This will also teach them to do the same.
- Write a story about one of your childhood experiences, or an experience you wished you had.
- Write an adventure story where the main character (named after your child gets to save the day.
- Write a mystery for them to solve.
- Write a letter or a year in review for them on their birthday, pointing out all of their wonderful accomplishments for the year. Include your favorite memories.
- Write a story for an older child about what they were like when they were a toddler, or about their very first day of school, or about a funny or interesting thing they did as a young child. Be sure to use the story to lift them up, make them laugh and make them feel proud of themselves!
- Write the story of when they met their first pet, how they named it and how you all felt about the new addition to the family. Add photos if you have them.
As a writer it is natural to want to write a story that everyone would enjoy. I encourage you to write for your children, even if children’s books are not your area of expertise. Let your child help you determine the story line. Let them illustrate the book. If you are inclined, you can always self publish it for fun and the joy of knowing that you created it together. Soon enough, they will know it by heart and recite it for you! Let your stories create more wonderful memories for you and your child to share.
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