School is about to start and that means a lot of anxious kids and parents out there. I remember the trepidation that came with the transition from summer to school. So with that in mind, I got out my trusty K-3 notebook and dusted off another Social Story I wrote for Ted when he was about to begin Kindergarten.
Maybe this story can work as a template for you to use to write your own story. And, if you are interested in writing your own, here are a few tips to make the writing even easier…
1. Use specifics unique to your child. Use the names, locations, schedules, etc your child will be exposed to in their day. The idea is for the story to help reduce anxiety by making them feel more familiar with a new situation.
2. Make it age appropriate. Use language and sentence structure similar to your child’s other reading materials. Use larger font for younger kids.
3. Explain simply the whys of the desired behavior, the consequences for not following the behavior, and the actions they can take to help them successfully achieve the desired behavior. Respect is shown to a child when a situation and the expectations of them are explained.
4. Use phrases such as “I will try” rather than “I will”. The “I will” command is stressful because it allows the child no room to error. Remember, this is a learning tool and mistakes will be made.
5. Provide acceptable options for your child to take when faced with challenging situations. “When I feel stressed I can squeeze my ball.” Or, “When one of my classmates calls me a name I can ignore and walk away.” Options are empowering.
6. Keep the social story as short as possible and focused on one specific topic. If your child is nervous about what will happen during the day, get a copy of the schedule and write a story that describes it. If you try to teach more than one topic in a story it will be confusing and less effective.
7. Try to read the story at a consistent time and when the child is relaxed and open to instruction. We tried to read a story at bedtime for up to a week. As soon as Teddy showed resistance we discontinued reading it.
The following story was written to familiarize Teddy to his new Kindergarten class rules…
Behaving In My Class
I am a big kid and I go to Kindergarten. In addition to learning reading, science and math I am also learning how to behave in my classroom.
To clearly understand how to behave in class, Mrs. Anderson has six rules every student is to follow. They are:
Use a quiet voice
Be a good listener
Walk, don’t run, at all times
Keep your hands to yourself
It is very important that I follow these rules. I am a member of a class and I need to try to be a good member.
Mrs. Anderson has made these rules so that everyone is nice to each other and so school is a nice place to go.
When I do not follow the rules, if I am not being nice, I will get in trouble and I do not get a Smile Dollar.
Mrs. Anderson, mom and dad are sad when I don’t follow the rules. They want to see me try hard to be a good member of my class.
If I am having problems following a rule I can ask Mrs. Anderson for help. She is my teacher and is there to help me learn to do the right thing.
I will try very hard to follow Mrs. Anderson’s rules. Rules are for everyone to follow.