Imagination is one of the greatest gifts a child can be blessed with. One creative spark is all it takes to foster new ideas, goals, and businesses. Creativity is the way our minds take something that we’ve seen, struggled with, or heard and from it found the seeds of creativity. The children’s author Emma Jean often finds inspiration for her fantastical stories by reimagining everyday situations.
For instance, you’ve likely heard other parents or even yourself, say something like, “I don’t know where that kid gets it,” when referring to some wacky or outlandish thing your child has said or done. Likely, it was their imagination at work helping them create a world, a character, or a song from their own minds.
A Child’s Imagination at Work
A child’s sense of wonder and make-believe is something many adults wish they still had. An inspiring thing we can do for our children is to help them develop and carry that creative ability into adulthood. One of the first ways we introduce imagination and creativity into our children’s lives is through reading.
Every time we read to them, even as infants, it lights up the communication centers in the brain while opening their minds to the endless possibilities of creativity. We usually continue this path until our children can read on their own and discover their own favorite authors or book series. But what if we helped our children become their own master storyteller, an author of their own books?
The Storyteller in All of Us
Have you ever encouraged your child to be the storyteller instead of you just telling them the story? Have they ever made up a story for you or did they “read” from a book full of pictures, interpreting what was happening based on the images on the page? Odds are your child has a storyteller inside of them.
Each one of us can imagine something different outside of our daily life. Think about a book or movie you grew up with; Haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like to be Wonder Woman or Iron Man?
Supporting Your Budding Author
If your child expresses an interest in becoming a writer or author in the future, encourage them to start now. It’s not only the words you’ll use to encourage them but also the actions you can take to show them you’re interested in their creative passions. Encouragement can be any one of these ideas:
- Ask to read something they’ve written
- Ask if you can help on a part in the story they may be stuck on.
- Sign them up for young authors writing contests
- Enroll them in a writing group or online academy for young writers.
- Offer to write a story with your child.
- Give them their own space for writing and the creative process.
- Let them dictate the story to you – and use their words, not yours.
- Accept your child might write something you don’t like.
Be a Participant in Your Child’s Writing Process
If your child isn’t sure where to start, you may have to be the creative one until their imaginative spark ignites. Think of yourself as their personal reader and ask the kinds of questions a reader might ask. Another way to think about it is to ask questions using the “who”, “what’, “when”, “where”, “why”, and “how” method.
One more way to get your child started is to ask them to think of a recent book or character from a book. Find out what adventure or problem that character might have. Help your child put themselves in the mind of that character. Much of writing a great story is being good at pretending. If possible, act out some of the ideas your child has.
From there you and your child will figure out how to solve the problem the character has or how the adventure might end. As mentioned earlier, you may want to dictate what your child is telling you if they are too young for the writing process. Encourage them to still tell the story by drawing pictures of the story and then explaining what’s happening.
Once the story is complete and ready for the world, start by making copies for family members and give them signed copies by the author as gifts or plan a reading of the book with their friends and family. There are even websites dedicated to helping your child write and get their story in physical book form.
Whatever you do, keep encouraging your child by listening to the stories they tell.
About Emma Jean
Emma Jean is one of America’s most popular children’s best-selling authors. She has written two bestselling books and created the I’m An Author Academy to transform students into authors. She was featured in Next On Scene Media, Indie Book Talk, and the Brainwave Podcast. For more information on her work and instructions on how to enroll in I’m An Author Academy, please visit https://4pigs2fly.com/