I've been researching for a while now, trying to find the best way to explain sequence of events to them in regard to things we do throughout the day. Social stories with pictures didn't really seem appropriate, since we don't really have any kind of set schedule or activity except on school days twice a week. Also, I'm lazy and I didn't want to have to make sure we had social story books with us at all times. I am the queen of lost items. And then I read about first/then. I love this! Here's how it works: the Daddy, the older monsters, or I will sit down with the twinnies, hold up a finger and say, "First, change bum." Then two fingers "Then, get dressed and brush hair." Holding up three fingers, we finish off , "Then, play outside!"
This little activity was easy to adopt, is easy to maintain, and can be done anywhere. We do a lot..a LOT... of reminding when we're using a first/then, and we have a little happy dance each time we complete one of the sequence. It has drastically cut down the amount of frustration, when they are anxious to go outside and play, for instance, and we haven't even gotten dressed yet. The twinnies know at the beginning what we will need to do before we can play, and I never use more than three tasks for first/then.
Surprisingly, it even worked on Christmas Eve. "First, take a nap. Then, Santa Claus comes! THEN, wake up and open presents!" I kid you not, those boys ran to bed and stayed there. Okay, they sleep with the Daddy and they were tired, but when they woke up, I repeated that particular first/then. And they knew exactly what was going on.
First, pick up toys. Then eat toast. Then watch Olivia! (and the cute #6 "THEN go a store!" what can I say? The kid never loses hope! )
First, eat dinner. Then bath and jammas. Then go to bed (THEN, go a store!)
And, just this second:
First, diaper. Then, get dressed. THEN play with trucks! (THEN go a store at grama's!)
I have learned that three tasks is the perfect number for us. The monsterlettes can remember them easily, and so can the Momma! I have noticed in the last couple of days that there have been fewer meltdowns. However, I am hesitant to say anything about that because I don't know if it's a result of first/then, extreme sugar consumption, or the new fun stuff to play with. Also, I don't want to jinx anything.
If any of you have had experience using first/then, I'd love to see your comments about this! Seriously, people. I'm starting to use this on the teenagers and it WORKS! Who knew???
images in this post by the Google images. I so totally love that place.