A great tip for dealing with BIG change!

Example of a page from a personalised book
Design by Loren Stow

 When you know your child is going to experience a big change, such as starting a new school, moving house, or the arrival of a new sibling, there is a creative and effective idea that has worked well for many moms and dads. Its basically a parent-led visualisation exercise for young children which helps our little ones to ‘make pictures in their minds-eye’ that works for them!

Create a book for your child, filled with real photographs and words that are applicable to the change they are experiencing. In this way, you can ‘paint a picture’ for your child of their world – and, when they recognise this ‘picture’ in their real life, they are filled with an immense security and feelings of everything being ‘just right’ in their world.

How to create the book:
(You can apply the ideas below to any major event)

New School:

Take photographs of your child during his school day. The pictures should include activities (in sandpit, on the swing, building blocks, dancing to the music etc.), people (teacher, headmaster, assistants, friends etc.), and things (the classroom, the bathroom, their school bag, their lunchbox etc).

Using your computer, make pages where you have the picture and a ‘story’ beneath each. For example, “Here is Johnny in the sandpit, playing with his friends,” and “This is Miss Henderson, Johnny’s teacher” etc.

Print the pages and slip them into a flip file.

New Sibling:
(Here it is important to stress your child’s place in the home and family)

Take photographs of your child’s routine and home life, including (as above) activities (bath time, bedtime, mealtime, playtime), people (mommy, daddy, nanny, the pets etc), and things (bed, bath, blanket, favourite toy etc).

Again, put a short ‘story’ under each picture and print the pages to be inserted into a flip file.

You can now read your special book over and over again, giving your child a certainty of how everything is ‘as it should be’ in his world. By repeating the story again and again, you are guiding your child in understanding his world and creating a sense of predictability and the security that goes along with that.

Tips to focus on when creating your child’s book:

• Routines and sequences of events (including small details such as picking up toys after play time, getting into pyjamas after bath time etc.).

• Specific places where things happen (such as mealtimes, playtime etc).

• Objects that are used.

• Try to have your child in the pictures (it is about him after all).

• Ensure that the book is realistic (don’t paint a picture that is far from the truth, because then it will just be confusing. Stay as close to reality as possible…)

Beyond the practical and emotional benefit of giving your child their very own personalised book, you are also creating a life-long memory for your child and a great gift for grandparents! You can ‘up the ante’ and even try your hand at digital scrapbooking, creating not just a book, but a colourful work of art that will catch your little one’s eye and will be treasured forever.

There are many free digital scrapbooking downloads available on the internet (try http://www.shabbyprincess.com/), and so this does not have to cost a fortune at all. Just a bit of time (which is very precious, we know…) and some creative inspiration is all that is needed!

Why not give it a try? Your child will find it easier to deal with big changes in his world, you will get to create something truly special, and the result will document your child’s special world for a lifetime.

Words: Loren Stow

when we know better… we do better

Comments? Please email lizette@practicaprogramme.co.za

*If you are interested in doing a book for your child, but don’t have the time, email Loren to get a quote on designing your child’s unique book for you – info@lorenstow.co.za

If you would like to be notified of all new posts via email, please send an email to lizette@practicaprogramme.co.za

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