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July 2, 2021

Simple Summer Activity for Kids: Create Your Own Storyboard

July is here. Happy Summer! 

While summer is a good time to increase the bonding with your child and family, it’s also a good time to plan those annual and semi-annual health check-ups. We know going to the dentist or the doctor isn’t the most fun thing to do for adults, so imagine how your child might feel. Anxiety triggers indeed. One way to soothe your child’s anxiety (and yours) is by creating storyboards. 

I know first hand the importance of storyboards. I took my son, Zavier to the dentist to have a cavity filled. Once he was seated in the dentist’s chair, he started crying and said, “My anxiety is up and I’m just scared because I don’t know what’s going to happen.” I was so surprised because I hadn’t seen him upset to the point of tears. It took me a second to realize I forgot to create a storyboard to prepare him for his dental appointment. Something one might think is so nonessential, would have calmed my son’s anxiety and avoided his tears. I create storyboards often so my son is usually always prepared. The tears, well, that was a sight I’ll never forget. I haven’t forgotten a storyboard since.

What are Storyboards?

Storyboards (also called social stories) are visual presentations that organize a narrative. The visual presentations could be a set of drawings or pictures, videos or acting/role playing used to explain an upcoming event or procedure. 

For storyboards to be effective, they should be catered to your child’s best way of embracing and learning. If your child is more receptive to drawings and pictures than videos, don’t use videos. If your child is more receptive to human interaction, use drawings created by you and your child or use acting/role playing. Each child is different. Each situation is different so each storyboard should be different.

How to Create a Storyboard

First, decide which occurrence to prep your child for. Second, decide the type of storyboard you are going to create. Again, it’s based on your child’s best learning abilities. Third, create! 

Types of storyboards or social stories:

  • Acting/Role Playing: This one will aid in the bonding experience yet requires much patience. While your child is role playing as themselves (lessens confusion), you are role playing/acting as say the doctor, dentist, teacher, etc. Use props, costumes, dress-up, recreate the environment your child will be entering. 

  • Drawing/Pictures: Whether you and your child are drawing pictures or using pictures from the world wide web, each picture should be a detailed visual of what’s to come. Once you’ve gathered enough visual aid to tell the story, they should be laid out in a sequential order and easily seen often until the event happens. Sort of a quick reference.

  • Video: YouTube is your friend. It’s been said before and I agree, “YouTube has a video for almost everything.” Search for videos relating to the upcoming event and share it with your child. Engage in conversation to ensure your child understands what they are seeing and hearing, and how it relates to them. You can also create your own video as a dry-run through the event for better accuracy, but that takes a little bit of time.

Whichever type of storyboard you choose, keep it simple, keep it short, use a pleasant voice and make it fun. The ultimate goal is to prepare your child for what is to come so they will be less anxious and more comfortable going into.


Storyboards can be used all day, every day, for routine events such as morning hygiene, to sporadic events such as semi-annual or annual health check-ups. This summer is a good time to try storyboards if you’ve never used them. 

Some summer camps will be open. Our children went through the effects of the pandemic just like we did so there may be some anxiety going to summer camp after being borderline isolated for over a year. A storyboard to ease your child into summer camp and during summer camp will be beneficial to them, the camp counselors and you.

Do you have a summer vacation coming up? Create a storyboard for the trip! You can start with the travel and how that’s going to go. You can include who you’re going to see and what you’re going to do. This can be beneficial in case your child surprises you with a negative response to a person or planned event. You may have to change your plans and it’s better to know in advance than enroute.

It’s all about preparation. Since many people, including children, like to know what is to come, it’s often best to prepare them in detail. Some need more detail than others. At any rate, I’ll leave you with this phrase:

“Proper preparation prevents poor performance.”

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