Short Picture Stories To Help Kids Understand Their World During COVID-19
Meredith Polksy, Social Worker, Author, & Early Childhood Special Education Expert
Short picture stories (often called Social Stories, a concept that originated with Carol Gray) are a great way to help children adjust to new situations. They are intended to be a social learning tool that helps parents, professionals and children communicate in a meaningful way.
As a special educator and social worker, I write short picture stories all the time. Young children might receive a story about going to a new school, or going to school for the first time. Others may get a story about making transitions throughout the day, exhibiting expected behavior, playing with friends, managing their emotions, or a host of other things. The story, when read over and over (first by an adult for pre-readers, and then by the children themselves who use the pictures as cues), provides somewhat of a mantra for a child, using clear and predictable language that the child can rely on when facing new or difficult situations.
Short picture stories are most often written from the perspective of the child, so they can really feel a personal connection to what they are reading. The story is intended to help them master a challenging situation, giving them a sense of ownership and control over something that might feel either unfamiliar or beyond their control.
These days, during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are all adjusting to something we have never encountered before. Every day, it seems, we are faced with a new challenge, a new reality, and a new circumstance that is difficult to understand. Picture stories are perhaps more relevant now than they have ever been, as we collectively navigate a very different kind of existence.
These are difficult times, and you may be seeing challenging behaviors from your young children that you have not seen before, or have not seen in a long time. That is all part of how they express their uncertainty, fear and confusion about how their world looks right now. Short picture stories may be one way to help them gain a better grasp on their current reality, and allow them to manage their emotions in more productive and effective ways.
Today, I’m sharing a few picture stories that I’ve created to help children during this pandemic with Bright by Text subscribers. Here are some that I hope you find helpful. These stories help children understand why schools are still closed, the rules for online school, parents working from home, and the disappointment of not going to birthday parties.