Today I am going to be talking about how to use personal stories, sometimes called social stories, to support your child as they go through a transition, try something new, or learn a new skill.
Hi everyone! Today I am going to be talking about how to use personal stories, sometimes called social stories, to support your child as they go through a transition, try something new, or learn a new skill.
When children go through a new experience, particularly one requiring a big change in routine, it is normal for them to have lots of questions about what to expect, and also to be unsure about what is expected of them.
So, Personal stories are a great way to prepare and ease an anxious child about the unknown, and to teach a spirited child expected ways to behave in a new situation.
Children love to see themselves in stories - it helps them make a personal connection, and it will also help them apply the information we share in the story when the transition or new experience happens.
Personals stories can be helpful for learning new skills like potty training, new experiences like going to the dentist, or transitions and changes, like starting a new school.
The first step in creating a social story is taking pictures. You can use images you find online (like a generic picture of a bus or dentist’s office), but it might also be helpful to take pictures of your child’s new school, classroom.
Next, write the story. Include your child’s name, and keep the language simple or at the child’s level. Include a related image for each page. Include information about what will happen (like first I will ride on the bus to my new school), include information about what is expected of them (such as “when I get to school, I will put my things in my cubby”).
You can also include details about the concerns your child might have, such as “I may feel a little shy about meeting new friends, but I will be friendly and say hello.”
For these stories, it is most helpful to write in the first person – this helps your child connect to the story.
You can assemble the story in lots of different ways: You can simply create it on Microsoft Word and print it.
There are also these amazing blank board books that you can buy on amazon. For little ones, you can simply use thick clear masking tape to put pictures directly on the book and write the story underneath.
Or, you can take pictures on your phone, add text, and then save it as an album, which works as your very own personalized E-book.
The next step is to read the story with your child, and use the opportunity to start a dialogue or talk more about what to expect – you may notice the story helps the child open up to you about their concerns.
If you created a physical book, leave it where you child can access it and look through the pictures.
While these stories can take a little time to make, the effort often pays off by support a more smooth transition.
Remember, what each child needs is different, and if you are looking for more support for you or your child, feel free to reach out via our website personalizedparenting.org.