In this post I’m going to give you some simple tips and ideas for how to share therapeutic stories with children in a supportive, creative and low-pressure way, so not only will you feel more confident and relaxed, but the child will be ready and open to receive all the wisdom from the story!
So, maybe you love the idea of using therapeutic stories. You’ve read some of my posts, see the value of storytelling as a therapeutic tool, of opening up hard conversations and sharing new ideas and solutions… Maybe you’ve even got a collection of beautiful children’s books addressing all kinds of problems and issues. But when it comes to actually sharing the story with a child… you feel a bit stuck. Maybe you struggle to get a child’s attention, or you feel awkward when reading aloud.
In this guide I’m going to give you my top five favourite tips and ideas to make sharing these wonderful stories feel easy, natural, and fun.
Top Five Tips for Sharing a Therapeutic Story
Comfort first: think blankets, beanbags, fidgets and cuddly toys. Offer something to drink and a little bite to eat. No one can take in information well if they’re feeling tense or their basic needs aren’t met. If a child feels relaxed and calm, they’ll have the capacity to really take in the story.
Make it playful: feel free to put on silly voices, be expressive and have fun! Laughter and play are fantastic ways to release stress and help children feel connected and involved. The subject matter of these stories can be serious, so offer some light relief if that feels right.
Give choices: Do they want to listen to the story during or after their snack? Would they like to sit on the floor or the chair? Would they like to turn the pages? Giving choices helps a child to feel in control, important and part of the process, which in turn helps them to feel more present, relaxed and focused.
Be expressive: use your whole body, as well as your voice, to tell the story. Maybe you whisper parts of the story, or speak very slowly, and then you speed up, or get very loud at another part! This helps to keep children engaged. Using hand gestures or ‘acting out’ characters and events from the story as you read is also a wonderful way to bring the story to life.
Get creative: if the child is a little resistant to books, or to therapeutic activities, try reading the story to one of their toys, or to a pet instead! This takes the pressure off the child and the novelty factor and playfulness can really help them to get involved.
Using Therapeutic Stories can be a wonderful tool to support children’s wellbeing- but in order to get the most out of them, you need to know how to share them!
Thanks to these easy tips, you can now try out sharing therapeutic stories in lots of different ways. Feel free to experiment with different ideas and find what works best for the child- every child is unique! And, if you would like to learn even more you can sign up to my online, self-paced Therapeutic Story Workshop, where I share the history and theory behind Therapeutic Storytelling, real life examples of the power of this work, and plenty of hints, tips and activities you can use straightaway to harness the power of Therapeutic Storytelling.