This “tell me a story” intervention is easy and adaptable. It also allows you to engage a child through different platforms like telehealth, by leading to more sustained attention.
1) Ask the child to tell you a story. Request the story include 3 emotions (can be more or less based on developmental needs of child) and one character or object you see in the room (this works best when the child is around toys or objects they are allowed access to, if done through telehealth. If the child is in a room without objects or toys, ask if they can find a surprise character or object somewhere else they are allowed to play with.
2) Listen to the story, validate and reflect and make any inquiries you need to. This helps the child know you’re listening and engaged.
3) The child now identifies emotions and a character, or more, for you to create a story about. This can be done through sand tray, with puppets, or drawing while the child watches.
Incorporate what’s relevant and needed for the child to hear. This could include normalizing emotions, recognizing body responses to emotions, using relaxation or expression skills, and normalizing emotions arising in given situations. Being in the midst of a pandemic, there are many of these opportunities!
To get a little deeper, ask the child for feedback on your story, would the child recommend you change anything or add anything? This can give you a lot of insight into their current experiences and needs.
Happy story telling everyone!