Disney World is full of magically fun, enticing items for sale. Everywhere you look there are stores. Even when you leave a ride or attraction. For almost every one of them, when you get off the ride or leave the attraction, you’ll walk through a store or past a kiosk. It will be filled with items that are themed after the ride/attraction you just experienced.
It can be difficult for a child or even an adult, especially those with certain issues such as autism, to be told they can’t have everything they want. So Justin Lopes has created a visual story designed to help parents prepare their children. By using this visual story in advance of your trip, you can help them know how to react when they can’t get everything they want in the park. This can make a huge difference to the quality of your trip and your child’s experience.
I’ll share the visual story here, and we’ll add Justin’s directions for use below that.
HOW TO USE THIS VISUAL STORY
Before your trip to Disney World, you’ll want to print out this page and do the following:
- Fill in your name in the blank spaces in cells 2 and 5.
- Explain that you have a story to read to get ready for your trip to Disney, Universal, etc. and share that the story has a cool trick for having fun in the parks.
- Read the story through with your child. Provide examples that you may have experienced together, or situations you may anticipate in the parks.
- Highlight the fact that it’s okay to feel upset, but if they can say “OK, I understand” you can all go right back to having fun.
- Practice! Read this through several times before the trip. Make it fun! Lots of kids will enjoy acting out the scenario with you. Set up a “toy shop” at home. Take turns being the kid or the parent in the scenario. Practice on trips to the grocery store. Make a big deal when your child says “Ok, I understand”. Shower them with affection, silly jokes, or whatever motivates your child.
– Replace your “no” with “No but…”. Offer two alternative choices when saying no.
Choice is a very powerful reward for many kids. When denying access to preferred items, sometimes a choice of alternative preferred items or activities can soften the blow. For example: “No, you can’t have the pirate sword but you can have a fruit snack or you can pick the next ride!” Don’t offer 1 alternative – choice is key. You may wish to pack snacks and trinkets to bring with you to save money.
– Avoid excessive fatigue, hunger, and thirst. These all make denied access much harder for kids to handle!
– Set expectations about what they can get ahead of time. That may be a number of items, or some dollar amount for older kids.
– Discuss consequences. You might also explain the consequences if your child can’t calmly accept no. Be sure to choose reasonable consequences you know you can follow through on (shady bench time, break from park).
Want to know more about using visual stories at Disney World?
If you’d like to know more, check out Justin’s podcast episode where he discusses HOW TO PREVENT TANTRUMS AT DISNEY WORLD WITH THE USE OF VISUAL STORIES. If you have any feedback or questions, Justin Lopes is available at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out other podcast episodes on his site www.easydizit.com.
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