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.