Observe and Describe behavior | Words to describe a child’s behavior

Observe and Describe behavior | Words to describe a child’s behavior


Hi. My name is Dave. I’m the father of
three kids and I’m a school teacher. Observe and Describe is a skill that is
part of every skill we teach. Mastering Observe and Describe will make using
the other skills on Smarter Parenting easier to learn and use. This skill is
one of the core things parents can do to improve communication in your home and
help parents interact with their children in a positive way. Another
benefit of using Observe and Describe is that it avoids the question game where
you might ask, “What are you doing?” and your child saying. “I don’t know.” And it goes
on and on. This can help you move forward with correcting a negative behavior or
reinforcing a positive behavior. The skill of Observe and Describe is simply
observing a situation and then describing it. I know it sounds easy, but
it can be tricky sometimes. Especially if you’re feeling frustrated or upset. The
steps to Observe and Described are: Observe the behavior. Get your child’s
attention. Describe what you see. It’s important to understand that children
are concrete thinkers and so describing what you observe is helpful for them to
know what they are doing. Phrases like, “that was good,” and “that was
bad” are vague and most children don’t understand what those really mean. Be
descriptive and specific in what you observe. It gives your child a clear
understanding of expectations. What I do when I need to use the skill of Observe
and Describe is I pretend I’m taking a mental picture of what I’m seeing and
then I describe what I see using an appropriate voice tone that fits the
situation. Sounds simple. Let’s practice it together.
We’re going to watch a few examples and you’ll need to choose which statement
best uses the steps of Observe and Describe. Did you choose, “There’s chocolate on your
face.” If so, you’re right. That was the correct choice. Let’s try a situation
that is a little more challenging. Let’s say you walked into the kitchen and
things looked like this. Did you choose, “There’s cereal all over the floor?” If so,
that’s the correct one. Let’s try one with teenagers. Did you choose, “I was
talking to you and you rolled your eyes?” Yes, you will probably use this one a lot
with your teenagers. We’ve been Observing and Describing behaviors using
situations that are pretty common, but did you know that the skill is even more
powerful when kids do something right? It is! Using the skill when your child does
something well helps to reinforce that good behavior. Take for example this
situation. See if you can pick the phrase that best Observes and Describes the
positive behavior. Did you choose, “you shared a Lego block by giving it to her.”
If you did, you’re right–again. Observe and Describe is a very common skill that
therapists and counselors use to help address behaviors and it is something
you can begin using right now too. When you use the skill you are not judging
your child and it’s a lot harder for them to argue what you’ve observed. The
more practice Observing and Describing, the more you’ll find you can remain calm
in just about every situation that arises because you’re not reacting
emotionally. You’re choosing to address behaviors in a better way. For more help
with this skill and other parenting resources visit the Smarter Parenting website.

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