Visual Story Maps
Many children are overwhelmed by social interactions those large and small including trick-or-treating, birthday parties, and going to the doctor. A great way to reduce anxiety around these events is to talk in detail about what they entail. LEEP Forward creates its Visual Story Maps to use as a tool to help our kids better understand the meaning of events that may bring anxiety so they can interact in an engaged and meaningful manner. Check out our collection of visual story maps that we use in our developmental pediatric clinic and therapeutic preschool; they span across a number of different topics. Each story is a step-by-step guide, with lots of visuals so children of all comprehension levels can get cued into what to expect in these unique social interactions.
If your child expresses anxiety about certain parts, work with them to make a plan that will put them at ease. For example, when trick-or-treating it may be helpful to set and start an end time, discuss who will go with them, or make a map of the neighborhood and the houses you’ll visit. Or when going on a vacation, it may be helpful to prep your child on everything that the word “vacation” entails. First, show and tell them where you plan to go. Next, let them know what you have to do prior to leaving. Were going to pack a suitcase and bring your favorite blanket. Then, we are going to go to the airport and wait in line. After that we’re going to so through security and then we will wait for the plane to arrive. It may also be helpful to remind them that if they get scared, they can hold your hand and you will be with them, right by their side the whole time. Be creative and flexible and enjoy your time together!