From Playwright Elana Gartner: How to Tell Your Child a Captivating Story
Has your child ever asked you to come up with a story off the top of your head? Or have you wanted to use a story to teach your child an important lesson, explain a difficult situation, or pass down a piece of family history? Our featured mom Elana Gartner gives us some tips on telling a story your child will remember!
1) Create characters that children can identify with.
They don’t have to be human and they don’t have to be of any particular gender or age but it is helpful if there is something that the children can grab on to. For example, perhaps the character is particularly charming or funny or else easily perplexed and confused.
2) Create a compelling plot.
Sometimes it is useful to create a plot that mirrors something that your child is going through to help prompt conversations. However, sometimes it’s fun to just send them on wild adventures to fantasy places requiring the suspension of belief and really exploring imagination. For those children who are far more based in reality, use things they are familiar with to create the story (their school or playground or grandparents’ house).
3) Create obstacles in the story that the characters have to overcome.
Many times kids experience obstacles as “The Bad Guy” but obstacles can be anything (ie. the character can’t get a door open to get the treasure on the other side or the boat left without them and they have to figure out how to get home). Make sure there is a resolve of the obstacle or the story will unfinished (however, you can always do a “to be continued tomorrow night at bedtime”).
See Elana’s exclusive Mommikin interview where she gives insights on her career as a playwright.
Playwright Elana Gartner has been produced in New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Georgia and has received recognition for her scripts by many theatre companies as well as the Great Plains Theatre Conference. Ms. Gartner recently had two monologues published in “Audition Monologues for Young Women #2: More Contemporary Auditions for Aspiring Actresses” by Gerald Ratliff (Meriwether Publishing, Ltd.). She is the founder of the EMG Playwriting Workshop, a member of Manhattan Oracles and a board member for the International Centre for Women Playwrights (ICWP). To learn more about her, please visit her website elanagartner.com.