After you make up a story with a child, spend some time thinking about the activity. What was the story about? What was its theme? Were the characters in the story angry, scared, happy, or sad? Take some notes about the story if you think it will help you.
Now ask yourself if there is a way that you can retell the story to help the child work through his or her feelings. Always use the same situations and characters that the child used. You can use the same plot and sequence of events at first, then change the ending of the story. For example, if the child told a story about an animal who was lost in the woods and could not find its way home, the child may be talking symbolically about feeling alone, unsure, lost, and isolated. You can retell the story, describing how sad the animal was when it was lost. You can then add how the animal was found and invited to a party where it was given a favorite food to eat.
Observe the child's reaction and see if your ending was acceptable to the child. If the child does not like your ending, he or she may not be ready to move on and may need to tell more stories with that same theme.
You and the child can also draw pictures to tell stories. Drawing pictures may reduce the child's discomfort with talking. Drawing pictures may also provide additional information about how the child is feeling.