Turn Your Four Year Old’s Stories into a Book

A tremendous way to connect with your child is by intently listening to them. When my youngest just turned four, I found myself struggling to connect with him. I would offer a lesson, and he wasn’t interested. But he did want to tell me story after story. Sometimes he would pull up a chair, sit down, and tell us all that was in his head. This was one such day:

On this day, we learned all about a claw that goes to grab something but then–what!?–stops.

In the very late 3s and 4s, they get very imaginative. Their stories are pointed and complex. They start to run the full gamut of human emotions. They learn what is possible and impossible. As such, their stories have complexity. Characters change their mind, get ingenious ideas, sometimes fail, sometimes win. What a wonderful thing to do to capture a story of theirs and turn it into a book.

One day, my son came out to tell one of his elaborate stories. I finally got a pen and paper out. As he told it, I write down what he was saying in detail. I was like a journalist capturing an eye witness’s account of something. I later turned this into a book. I present to you The Rocket That Had a Hole in It:

The Rocket That Had a Hole in It
This is Henry
This is a rocket
Henry can fit in the rocket!
3, 2, 1….blast off!
Oh no! The rocket has a hole in it!
It sinks into the water!
A tugboat comes to save it!
It’s safe on land!
It’s safe on land!

I could read this heroic story again and again!

Using this helped gain his cooperation. When he went to the dentist, he didn’t want to go in the room. I started telling him one of his stories that he had made up. He was floored I had remembered it. He filled in some details I had missed, and came into the room. I write strongly in Misbehavior is Growth: 3 Year Olds that appealing to their fantasy and imagination, e.g., telling stories, works much better in such situations than appealing to reason, e.g., “There is nothing to be scared of!” They don’t have the data recollection yet to concur there is nothing scary. They do much better when you appeal to their fantasy and put them at ease–perhaps with THEIR very own story!

This book is a keepsake. I have one for each of my children. I can’t wait to make one for each of my grand children (a ways away ok?). I have a similar idea about making book to describe when a conflict arises and you found a great solution.

Work with their behavior, not against it

Direct your friends to The Observant Mom.

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