Category Archives: Stories through play

Why do kids lie and how to deal with lying children

Why do kids lie and how to deal with it?

Kids lie for similar reasons parents do: to be acknowledged communally, to get rank, to upset somebody, or because they dread the cost of telling the truth.

However, younger children don’t know the idea of truth and lies in the way that adults do.

Let’s enter the world of the kid to know why children can bend the truth so effortlessly.

Children lie all the time, so what can we do about a lying child? Continue reading Why do kids lie and how to deal with lying children

Telling Children’s Stories Using Storysacks

Telling Children’s Stories Using Story Sacks

In this article about story sacks (also known as “storysacks” without a space), we’ll look at what they are, why they help us tell stories, what is in one and how you can make your own!

I don’t think anyone viewing this website will disagree that one of the most important gifts children receive is a love of stories and reading.

Young children often find it easier to relate to stories and concepts if they have something concrete in front of them that help them understand what’s being discussed or told.  This is one reason picture books and books with plenty of simple illustration are so popular for this age group.

Use storysacks to help illustrate the themes and lessons in a children's story and to help get kids to engage in storytelling Continue reading Telling Children’s Stories Using Storysacks

Giving Children Confidence and Helping them Stand Up for Themselves

Confidence and self-assertion for kids

Many children suffer from low self-confidence. Symptoms can include excessive shyness, separation anxiety, as well as a negative attitude toward themselves and others.

Life is more challenging for a child that lacks confidence.

As parents, we are there to show them what confidence looks like and how they can be assertive without becoming aggressive.

It is important to give children the tools of confidence, because many behaviour problems come from a lack of self-esteem.

Sharing stories about confidence can help to improve behaviour and the way your child thinks

“If we tell children what they should or shouldn’t do, it doesn’t have as much impact on them as a story because a story builds in the experience. It’s a way of teaching them about life.”

Psychologist Richard Landis

Build a child's confidence and self assurance through storytelling, books and play Continue reading Giving Children Confidence and Helping them Stand Up for Themselves

Interactive Storytelling: How to get Children to engage in story time

Interactive Storytelling: How to get Children to engage in story time

Although bed time has traditionally been a big time for telling tales and reading to children, getting kids to participate in storytelling during other parts of the day is also important.

Children learn through stories, including everything from basic syntax and grammar to more complex concepts like moral and ethical behavior and concepts of cause and effect.

Kids learn through stories

Children’s ability to learn through dynamic storytelling is one of the reasons story time is a big part of daycare, preschool, primary (kindergarten in the US) and early elementary learning environments.

Making story time a consistent part of your home routine is important as well, and you can set the routine for storytelling activities at home for whatever works best for your schedule.

Engaging your children in the stories you tell them. Continue reading Interactive Storytelling: How to get Children to engage in story time

Fears – Why do I have to be the monster all the time?

As a follow up to the last post, I was asked an interesting and related question: “Why does Olivia always ask you to be the monster”.

I know why, so I thought I’d share it.

Don’t forget (or should that be: Remember) that children can choose to represent their fears and worries in lots of different ways. It might be the “bad guy” or a teddy, or an imaginary friend or even a real friend with fictitious behaviour (ever had your kid make up tales about how so-and-so did this or that?).

What games do your children like to play with you and is there a role they like you to play more often? Leave a comment and let us know.

Monsters – How children deal with things that scare them

One of my daughter’s favourite games is to play “monsters” where she and I will hide from the monsters.

What is so special about this game?

Well nothing I suppose, in so far as every game a child plays is “special”, but I have chosen to talk about this game as I decided to try and influence the game at the weekend.

Childrens’ emotions are expressed in other ways

Children can’t express the emotions they feel as well as adults (and that’s not to say that adults are particularly good at it either) and they don’t have the life experiences and knowledge of how to deal with them that age brings.

How they learn to deal with these emotions is through playing with them.

By building scenarios and fantasy play, they can experiment and learn about the emotion and how they can deal with it.

In order to play with an emotion, they have to find a way to externalise the emotion so that they can then interract and experiment with it.

In this example, my daughter is experimenting with fear and she has externalised it into an object or objects called monsters

As you can see, she is experimenting with an approach of running away and hiding from the monsters (things that scare her), and I am attempting to introduce into the play a different strategy for dealing with the scary monsters:

…Being just as scary and dangerous as the monsters

Boys and Girls

Of course boys tend to deal with monsters in a more physical and confrontational way than girls, so while I am trying to encourage a more physical and aggressive way of dealing with things that scare my daughter, parents of boys may want to think about ways of introducing more caring or thoughtful approaches to dealing with monsters. That’s not to say that I shan’t be playing sneaky ways of getting the monsters with Olivia too…

…Maybe we’ll surprise them and cover them in goo! Or make them look silly…

…Or maybe we’ll team up and I’ll chase them while she lays a trap that will capture them so that she can then take them to (a fantasy) school and teach them how to be nice… (notice how that then allows the play to move on in to another area altogether – which I shall talk about another time)

Do share any ideas you have for dealing with monsters or if you notice the themes in your kids’ play and how you could introduce new ways of interacting with the emotions attached to them.

Follow up question

I was asked a question about monsters and why I’m always chosen to be the monster. Checkout my answer here

When a child has a Temper Tantrum…

Shouting, kicking, screaming and thrashing…


You’d think that the child is being obnoxious, but what if they weren’t?

What if, hindered by a lack of language skills, size and power, they were venting new and strong emotions in the only way they can using the only means at their disposal?

As a parent, it’s very easy to ignore or shout at (or worse) a child throwing a tantrum, but give them some attention and love and you may find strange things happen once it blows over.

One thing I forgot to mention in the video is that you should be caring and loving when present. Your baby needs acceptance not banishment. They’re new to all this and need help and support.

If you try this, please do let me know how you get on. It worked very well with my daughter and as I hinted above: there’s almost always a rainbow after the storm.

Reversing the role of responsibility

I am guilty, as I think are most parents, of assuming that children are naturally irresponsible and we should be on our toes and ensure that we stop them from doing anything dangerous.

I was reminded this week that children are actually a lot more responsible than we give them credit for.

They are, more often than not, merely playing with the idea of irresponsibility.

Go with their idea. Enlarge it. Make it more over the top. Make it sillier and more dangerous.

Your kids will swap roles with you and become the sensible adult and tell you not to do it because it’s dangerous or naughty or whatever.

Try it. It’s fun if nothing else.

Hide and Seek: discovering the REAL game

Understanding why children play games and what each game means to each child was a real turning point for me in how I engage in my daughter’s play. Today’s video is about one game in particular: hide and seek and how the deeper meaning of the game allows her to deal with the real life situation that she doesn’t live full time with me and how I can use that understanding to make sure she knows and understands just how important her visits are and help her deal with the feelings she has about it.

Oh, and please forgive the beard. I was experimenting (again) with facial hair, but I’ve decided that it really isn’t me and it will be coming off asap.