Using Social Stories in the Classroom and at Home - Mrs. B's First Grade

Using Social Stories in the Classroom and at Home

Transitions are tough. Transitions in the classroom can be tough. Transitions at home can be tough. Something that I have found that helps with this are social stories. Creating social stories can be extremely simple - and can have a big benefit. Read on to learn how I create social stories for both my kids at school and my kids at home.


Have you ever read a picture book to a child? Are they engaged? Do they connect to the pictures? Do they talk about what is going on?

Imagine if they had something like that to help them better understand something. How to react in a situation. What exactly is going to happen and what order it is going to happen in.

This is where social stories come to play in a perfect way.

In my classroom I have created social stories for a number of things. From what to do in a fire drill or how to unpack when coming into school to how to make a friend or what to do when you get upset. I have created super simple ones revolving around not picking your nose or not sucking your thumb. Basically, you could create a social story for everything.
Social stories are combination of language, routines, and expectations that provide personal perspective on social situations. They guide children through a situation and help them to be prepared and less anxious about it.

I have had great success with social stories at school. That is why when something came up with my own child, I knew a social story would be the perfect answer.

When our son Dean was born, our other son Leo's sleeping was totally disrupted. He stopped sleeping through the night, wouldn't go to bed without being rocked (which basically took an hour each night) and was so scared for us to leave him. Combine that with a newborn, and my husband and I were burnt out.

We needed to make a change - but I wanted Leo to feel more comfortable. I didn't want the change to just - bam - happen one night and he had to get over it and roll with the punches.

So, I made him a social story.

I called it Leo's Night Night Book. I took pictures of his bedtime routine (the one we were hoping to achieve) and wrote very simple sentence to accompany them. I tried to keep it very simple. Something his two year old self would understand. I wanted him to connect with it, understand what was happening, and actually visually see himself doing it.

Here is just a *peak* into it -
A few days before we wanted to implement the change, we started reading his book. He was genuinely SO excited about it. We read it during the day. I left it out for him to see. We also read it at night as I was trying to go through his routine.
The big day finally came and I felt much better about it. I know that Leo did too. I'm not going to lie and say there weren't any tears. There were. But they lasted about two minutes. And then he went to bed. By himself. And my husband were in awe and so proud of him for being brave.

I'm happy to say that he is back to his great sleeping habits despite our setback with Dean being born. I do know that I can easily pull his Night Night book back out (we keep it with the rest of his books) and go through it should that change.

Ready to try your own social story?

Think about a transition, behavior, routine, social situation, etc that one (or all) of your students (or children) need help with.

You can do what I did and create a book - or you can simply right it out on a list (see my picture above.)  There is a huge variety of ways you could create one.

After you create your story, read it with the child. Take a moment to be fully invested in what you are doing with them and show them that you care and you are there to help them.

Keep it out while you are going through the situation. Use it for as long as you need.

Need some help getting started with one? Click below to download a template.
Good luck! I would love to know what social story you wrote and how it went!

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