Bedtime storytelling can be a great way to alleviate stress and strike up conversations with the kids. Start off the storytelling session by creating a fictional plot: “once upon a time there was a princess who lived in a giant castle with her mother and father. She had lived there with her parents her entire life, until one day, after a long fight, her father left the castle and never returned. This made the princess worry, because …” and then let teh child take over a portion of the story. After they add their part, then you add on to that again, and on and on until you have woven a fantastical tale.
Conduct these bedtime stories as often as the kids express an interest in them. You can make it realistic, fantastical, or just plain silly. Either way, children benefit. If it’s realistic, these stories can easily morph into valuable discussions regarding what is going on in their lives. And if they are silly or fantastical, they provide kids with a therapeutic outlet, a way of unburdening themselves of stress by laughing and having a little fun with these concepts.
Adult: Once upon a a time there was a prince. He lived in a castle along with . . .
Child: His Mom and sister and brother and Dad.
Adult: Right. And his pet Gorilla, named Tiny.
Child: And don’t forger his pet Cheetah, too His name was Spots.
Adult: Who could forget Spots? They had a wonderful time living as a family in the castle. Their favorite part about living together in the castle together was . . .
Child: That they had a big castle to live in, and he could play with his Mom and Dad and his brother and his sister. And He could take his Gorilla for walks and play fetch with his Cheetah.
Adult: Right. Until one day, the boy’s father, the king, had to go far away to fight a battle against the marshmallow people. This meant he wouldn’t be around the caste any longer. This made the boy worried and sad, because . . .
You get the idea. It doesn’t have to follow any script or even make sense, the point is merely to create an informal story where you work in different divorce events or concepts, in the hope it might lead to a discussion about the changes that are taking place in a child’s life. Just be sensitive when you first start, and it might be better to start with the sillier ones first. If kids are struggling, the last thing they may want to do is have a serious story about the source of their torment right before bed.