Observe and Describe

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Where to begin

Observe and Describe is a powerful technique used by parents to remain focused on what is happening and to remain calm during stressful situations. This technique is used in almost every lesson in Smarter Parenting.

Start by watching the video. Watch it a few times if you have any question.

It can be helpful to see the steps when you are first learning this skill. Print out the steps and place it somewhere you can see.

Practice the skill. Start by watching others and describing what they see. Once your comfortable, practice with your children.

Suggestions for parents when using this concept

  • Be aware of your child and their desire to shift focus on other things. Remain calm and continue to use Observe and Describe.
  • If you use this technique and your child becomes more defiant, you can continue to use this technique and describe the defiant behavior.
  • You can use this concept if you feel like you don’t know what to say to your child.
  • Observe and Describe can be used for positive and negative behaviors. Feel free to use it all the time with your child so it becomes second nature.

Observe and Describe is a simple technique and it is powerful. The ability to describe what is happening helps parents focus on behaviors and stay away from emotional outbursts. Using this technique will keep things calm. Assessing the situation in a calm manner helps children and parents prepare for a solution and avoids arguing. If a parent is angry, frustrated or upset and responds that way, the child will either submit to the parent out of fear, or begin to argue, making the situation worse. Parent’s who use this skill will notice their children beginning to use it.

All of the other parenting lessons on Smarter Parenting have a step where this concept is used. Become very familiar with this concept because it is used so much.

Resources, Printables, and more

Find additional support to practice and teach Observe and Describe at the resources link below.

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Parenting SkillsObserve and Describe