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Child Involvement



Last month we began to delve into the different ways caregivers can set up the visual schedule feature on the Thrive app. At the end, we touched on the most important individual in the process - the child who is both utilizing the watch and thus benefiting directly from this feature! This month we will focus on how to engage your child in the process of set-up and beginner’s use - first steps towards familiarizing your child with the application and its benefits. We aim to garner a sense of benevolent ownership between the application and the child it is intended to serve. The focus of this process should be fun, positive and reassuring; placing the child as the driving participant. There are a number of ways to introduce the application (and its features) to your child. Think about how you would like to explain this new tool to your child. Below are some great starting points of initiation…

  • Show your child pictures or short videos of how the app is used.

  • Model how you use your watch or phone to set reminders, or even model use of the app for portions of your day.

  • Use the watch and your child’s other forms of visual schedules simultaneously so your child can see how they work similarly.

  • Start small. Together with your child decide what portion of the day to put in the visual schedule. Consider starting with a familiar part of the day to support feelings of success in using the app.

  • Have your child present as you enter activities and pictures. Consider having your child participate in taking personalized pictures for their app.

  • Practice wearing the watch! There are different types of watchbands out there, so consider trialing different types of bands to see what is the best fit. *Note: check those return policies!* Again, start small...wearing the watch for short periods of time.

  • On day 1, include mention of the app in your daily discussions with your child. Verbally rehearse or discuss that your child is going to start using the app on their watch.

  • Talk about reminders. Let your child know that reminders alert them to an upcoming/pending transition. Give ‘pre-reminders’ in the beginning stages - letting your child know to be on the look-out for the upcoming nudge or prompt displayed in the app may be helpful until the initial anticipation becomes less startling.

  • Review what it means to complete a task within the app and demonstrate as needed throughout the day.

What if things do not go exactly as you expect right away? First, respect your child’s voice and their feelings. Next, validate even the small wins. If they only use the app for one or two activities the first day, count that as a win! When they ask to be done with the app for the day, respect that desire. But, be sure to vocalize their triumphs and successes for the day – coupling their wins with their willingness to try a new tool. Debrief by discussing this new tool and how it may be useful to try again tomorrow for another short period of time. Often new experiences can cause children to feel uncertain. So, understand that while some children may jump in with both feet first, others may be more hesitant. Respect and respond accordingly to your child’s pace. Ask for their feedback! Did they not like the alert noise? Did the vibration alert startle them? Was one alert not enough? Your child’s reaction to new endeavors will also elicit a reaction/response in you. Remember to respond in a proactive manner - try a different alert noise; turn the vibration alert off; if one alert proved insufficient...consider adding a second alert. Make sure that your child’s voice is heard and that you are working together while becoming comfortable and efficient in your use of the Thrive app!

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