Use Bluebee in a Story to ease transitions! Often, holidays are times when kids experience an overwhelming amount of sensory input. They are taken out of their usual routines and melt-downs can easily be triggered. Going to see Santa is a source of distress for many kids. There are crowds and lines, uncomfortable clothing, and a lot of “tall” people running about and speaking loudly. In addition, music and bright lights are aplenty.
Letting kids know what is going to happen and providing options for responses as to what to do may be a way to prevent a child who is more sensitive to overload. We used Bluebee to make a story about going to see Santa and what that sequence entails. (This is not a Social Story as defined by Carol Gray, a teacher and the developer of Social Stories. Social Stories are very specific and are important tools for all children who struggle with exchanging information. I would highly encourage anyone who is interested to visit her website or check out any of her books to learn more.)
Tips for making stories:
- The stories can be used to prepare a child for what’s to come or a memory book of a special holiday or event – that can then be read or reread the following year to open up a discussion of what is going to happen.
- Use actual pictures of where you are going or what you will be doing – and show specific detail. Cartoons or icons can be confusing. Real pictures will give kids a sensory anchor of what to look for.
- Keep sentences short and to the point. Young children need to learn about what is important. Too many details may be confusing for a young child.
- Tell kids what is to be expected and what they will be doing. Use of the words NO, NOT, DON’T do not tell you what to do and are vague in nature.
- Keep the tone positive and truthful.
- Some storybook creation apps contain the ability to add a soundtrack or music. You can record reading the story for your child to listen to again and again or include happy upbeat songs.
- Include your child in the story and in the making of a story if able. Kids love to use the camera and see themselves in stories. Having a “mission” during an event may be enough of a distraction to keep them organized.
- Share with family – especially the Grandparents!
Here is a story about Hudson and Lily going to the mall to visit Santa. We used Book Creator by red jumper ltd. to make the story and the Essential Apple app, iMovie for display or sharing purposes. iMovie is free for iPad users, and watching any of the tutorials is invaluable. There were many other shots we could have taken for the story but wanted to show you the general idea of what a book might include. Your child could be in the shots and star in the book instead of Bluebee. We will go over the steps in making a storybook in the next post.