Masks, social distancing, increased hand washing – these words describe our new normal, at least for now. Some boundaries have been lifted and many of us will be easing back into the world around us after quarantine. But how do we explain to our kids that things are different now? There are strategies we can use to help our children follow some new rules and become accustomed to changes in their environment.
Social stories are stories that provide information about a specific event. When read ahead of time, Social Stories can help ease any confusion or anxiety a child might be feeling by letting him or her know what to expect.
The Child Development Center has links to several Social Stories about the Coronavirus broken down by ages, from Pre-K up to older, school-aged children: https://childdevcenter.org/news/social-stories-for-kids-about-covid-19/. Another option is to create your own social story for your child! Draw pictures, cut pictures from a magazine, or print your own photographs and paste onto paper to show a sequence of events that will occur for a certain scenario. For example, if a child will be going to the store then you may want to show things like wearing a mask and allowing some space between yourself and others. Your child might feel more relaxed with these changes and may be more likely to follow new rules when he or she has talked and learned more about them ahead of time!
Your child’s daily routine may have changed drastically. A Visual Schedule can be helpful to prevent behavior issues and keep your child motivated to complete activities at home. Some great Visual Schedules like this one can be found on Understood.org:
You can also make a picture schedule for your child’s day by listing the different activities in order. Then, add pictures that by drawing or printing them. Hang your child’s schedule somewhere that will be easily seen in the house, and reference it in the morning and throughout the day.
We’ll all get through this together, and using strategies like these can help our kids transition smoothly to all of the changes!