Like other forms of fantasy, children’s stories reflect their experiences, fears, emotions and desires. Your tow or three year old may attempt to tell a story using phrases and short sentences, but he can only sustain it with much questioning and prompting from you.
By the age of four, your child will pick up conventional storytelling devices such as “Once upon a time and “the end,” and he may become more fluent in telling a tale. This age is the imaginative peak for children’s stories. The action is seldom bound by reality, and the story settings may be wildly exotic. You can encourage storytelling by reading to your child regularly. New characters, situations and locations from books become fuel for his own stories.
While the plots of young children’s tales often involve eating, sleeping and the appearance of a kindly figure, violence is far and away the predominant theme. You are likely to hear a great deal about struggles with monsters, children getting spanked, stolen food death, killing and crashing. Although such stories may make you rather uncomfortable, remember that they are usually a child’s way of dealing with fears or feelings of aggression. And they give you a perfect opportunity to talk through such concerns with your youngster as the two of you discuss the gorier details of the story line.