April 14, 2013

Emotional benefits for children making up their own stories or songs

get-a-job

Copyright: Ava Parnass

By Ava Parnass

When Shara  asked me to write about the emotional benefits of  kids making up their own stories, I had a nostalgic  moment. I suddenly realized I had totally forgotten how for four or five years all my child wanted to do was have me staple papers together so she could make her own books.

Although the new stage of life that we are in is just as lovely, I hadn’t  noticed until now that the book creating phase morphed into a more mature phase!

While Ms R (my daughter) is still writing her own books and songs, she’s no longer stapling papers; she’s making them in  iBooks or Notebook.

As a child psychotherapist I love how creating your own stories in book and or song form encourages emergent reading literacy and emergent emotional literacy! Giving your child writing tips can be a great way to boost their confidence and encourage brain growth.

All adults and children alike have personal stories to tell.

1. Learning to tell our stories helps us find our own authentic voices and helps us sort out our psyche!
2. In addition, having our own voice builds confidence.
3. In the long run, knowing how we feel and how to express those feelings in any form is good for growth and  development. (And how many of us as adults have turned ourselves into pretzels not being who we are or knowing how we feel till we we’re older?)

to-the-zoo

Copyright: Ava Parnass

4. Making up stories helps kids with academics by learning  better concentration skills and increasing cognitive skills.
5. Making up stories increases self esteem, helps in withstanding peer pressure and decreases acting out. Because when you know what’s going on in your inner world you know how to handle things in a more skillful way.
6. Kids who make up stories and songs build their imagination and creative abilities.
7. The ability to participate in writing pretend (or real) stories increases a child’s coping skills when things go wrong.
8. Making up books and songs also increases a child’s ability to entertain themselves which is a great skill in all walks of life.

Here is a song my child made up when the cat died:

Make your books!

Creativity, passion and play are  a child’s job. All you need is paper, crayons, pencils, washable markers, stapler, kid scissors, etc.

1. Say to your child, “Let’s make a book using pictures and words.”
2. Ask, “What do you think it should be about?”
3. Let your child do the creating – only help when asked!
4. At first when your kids are young ask them, “What do you want you to write or sing about?” and write it for them. As they get older they can write and draw themselves.
5. Create something alongside them so you are having fun creating together. They will equate creativity with a loving relationship and enjoy it for a lifetime.
6. Do not correct anything. This is fun free play activity with the added long term advantage of  building emergent reading literacy and emergent emotional literacy!

Additional reading: Helping kids make friends

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