Adam Sandler and his family movies can't help but poke their nose in on your fun. But this movie definitely didn't suck as much as the others (Blended…bringing down Drewy Barra with you there Adam). And definitely was not as good as some (see: Happy Maddison). BUT what I did love about it was it made me question my bedtime story telling skills.
As someone who is currently performing the role of 'human incubator' I've started thinking more intensely about issues as important as this one. Especially after that one time I was telling my niece a story and her feedback was "this is kind of lame" (ah don't you just love kids honesty?) SO I decided to turn to the experts! Or expert. Or Mum…I spoke to my Mum.
I was one of those hashtag blessed children that grew up with a Mum who had a real love for stories, literature and words. One of my fondest memories as a child was that ritual before bed where some degree of storytelling was involved. She read to my sisters and I every night but her speciality was definitely making-up her own stories!
AND MADE-UP STORIES ARE THE BOMB DIGGITY.
Children especially love them, sometimes even more than a picture book.
But making-up an on the spot story is easier said than done. So I picked my Mum's brain and she told me the secret formula to a good story! (She's less secretive than Mr Kentucky Chicken).
Ask yourself these questions (it's like background work)…
- "What are my child's interests?"
- "How can I incorporate my child's name or make them a character?" (Ha! Game changer. Kids are suckers)
- "What kind of stories do I know?" (Don't make this too hard on yourself. You don't want to begin a story about the evolution of caterpillars only to realise you don't know a single bloody thing about caterpillars)
These three questions should roll through your mind fairly quickly and should hopefully not take too much brain power (easier said then done I know, I know). But let's answer these questions hypothetically as an example…
- My kid loves Dolphins and Princess's
- Her name is Maddison
- I know nothing about Dolphins but am familiar with the storyline to a basic Fairy Tale.
In case it's been a while since you've been at school (all of us) and you can't remember the format to a good story here are the basics…
START with introducing the main character and the location of the story
Once upon a time there was a Princess called Maddison and she was the Princess of the Lollipop Kingdom.
INTRODUCE a problem
Maddison loved being a Princess but was sad that she lived so far away from the ocean. You see, she had never even seen the ocean before! Maddison asked her Mum and Dad, the King and Queen of The Lollipop Kingdom whether they could go on a family trip to the ocean. Her Mummy and Daddy wished so much that they could but they told Maddison that they were too busy with royal duties to go on a holiday.
PREPARE for an ADVENTURE (and throw in a few more characters…I recommend using their friends names and making the characters different animals)
Maddison was sad that she couldn’t go see the ocean. Her horse Keira heard her crying and came to find her. Kiera asked Princess Maddison why she was sad so Maddison told her about wanting to go to the ocean. Kiera told Maddison that she knew a toucan called Charlie who knew the way to the ocean and would take them! Maddison asked if her parents would miss her if she left, but Keira said that Charlie had a special magic potion that would stop time so they'd never know!
TAKE the characters on the ADVENTURE
So Keira, Charlie and Princess Maddison took the magic potion and went on their way. They ventured through the Candy Forest, climbed over the Rocky Road Way and swam through the Pink Lemonade River.
(You can carry on with this part for as long as you want, think of it as an assignment that needs the word count beefed up)
CLIMAX (the story…not you)
They finally made it to the ocean! Maddison was so happy and the first thing she did was jump straight into the waves with her animal friends right behind her. They were having so much fun that they didn't realise how far out they were drifting from the beach. Thankfully a dolphin was passing by and picked them up and brought them into shore. Princess Maddison and her friends were so thankful for the dolphins help! The dolphin asked their names and told them her name was Flippy. They all became friends and spent the rest of the afternoon playing together. The Princess realised it was getting late and was probably time to go home to her Mummy and Daddy. So all the friends added each other on Facebook and promised to keep in touch. (Pfft, why not?)
WRAP this baby up (and hope that either you've bored your child to sleep or they're so thankful for how good it is that they'll go to sleep out of respect for your amazing story-telling skills.)
Princess Maddison and her friends were so tired when they got back to the castle after their big day at the ocean. Maddison went and saw her Mummy and Daddy who had no idea of her days adventure! She was so tired that she ate ALL of her dinner and got straight into bed without a single argument (hint, hint children). The King and Queen kissed their Princess goodnight and turned the lights off. Maddison fell asleep straight away and dreamed of the ocean and her new friend Flippy.
CONGRATULATIONS YOU BLOODY LEGEND, YOUR KID NOW THINKS YOU'RE A ROCKSTAR.
HAVE FUN and encourage their input!
Remember that kids have a WILD imagination! So you can honestly say whatever the heck you want and their minds will do most of the wandering without your help. So don't put any pressure on yourself. You don't have to act it out or add a musical number (remember, you're trying to get them to sleep you weirdo). But it does makeit even 10 times more fun if you encourage your kid/s to join in on the storyline! They'll appreciate it SO much more than just a story from the bookshelf. Make it a special thing that you do together!
Now it's time to practise your skills and put your story-telling to the test! Try it out tonight and let us know how you go in the comments below. Or maybe you're an expert story-teller and have some tips for us! Which is even better, because I kind of still suck.
Have fun making a fool of yourself all in the name of love,