Apr 7, 2021

Stop. Listen. Look Parenting Skills

Parenting skills and learning can be hard. Raising children can be hard and there is no handbook that will give you all the answers. Everyone is different and has different lifestyles. Parenting skills differ from person to person and can also be based on the way you are raised as to how to then parent yourself. This could mean that if you have come from having strict parents and being limited to doing certain things, you are most likely to be more lenient on your child or children. However, this can also cause issues when someone may have been abused as a child and then uses the same methods on the child or neglect them completely. I have put together some skills to help with parenting and I call this the STOP, LISTEN, LOOK.

What is the STOP,  LISTEN, LOOK?


This simply as suggested Stop what you're doing and give yourself time to process, this can be used for good times, the ugly and the bad. Children are not perfect human beings and we are the role models who teach them how to behave and handle situations. In order to process what is going on, we need to give ourselves breathing space, time and thinking space. This can be used by using small activities with children that allow you to be in control, but then allow yourself some time to simply relax. I don't mean move on from one task to another and burn yourself out. I really mean STOP! 

How do I stop, to function as a parent?

Well this is where restraint comes in, and this can be the tricky part, and I have often struggled to, however, you need to make sure you get your time and your ability to have the energy to deal with situations that may be the loving hugs and praise down to warnings and even discipline.  So you may need to set yourself a schedule for work and playtimes. If you know you need to have the kids ready in the mornings then get up 30mins earlier and have your time. Make sure you pre-prep the evening before so you have more time to enjoy the mornings with your children. I also find having the morning as stress-free as possible helps the children for the day. I often went to school younger feeling stressed as my mum is not a very organised person and she was always late, so I was then left feeling rushed and stressed for the entire day. So my plan would be to have bags packed, most of the lunch ready if you worried about the sandwiches for lunch being soggy, having most of the lunch made means you will save more time by just making the food. Keep the fridge stocked and may be labelled so you're able to find things easier. I also found that grating cheese, or pre slicing it helped and reduced the mess in the morning. Another example would be to give yourself some time throughout the day if the kids are young and at home. If they still have a nap, or they are in school in the day then use this time, not to clean the house but to rest. Put your feet up and have a cuppa. This time allows you to relax from the craziness you have been dealing with throughout the day. If you worried about doing housework then use the morning when you have dropped the kids at school to pre-make dinner for later, this could be making lasagna and reheating it when the kids are home, chopping and slicing the veg and just put them onto boil once the kids are home. This again free's time later. The stop is simply to enable you to feel more in control and more able to be present when you need to be, by making small changes to make life easier. 


Being able to listen to children, is important to enable the children to feel valued. As an adult I'm pretty sure when you feel you're not being listened to, you either say " are you listening" or "what's the point" and not carry on as the person you are talking to is not interested in what you are trying to get across. Well, this is how children feel and this can then cause children to not want to confide in us and tell us as parents anything that is bothering them, or something they have managed to achieve. The child will simply keep things to themselves and in turn, may then have long term side effects from this. 

How to Listen Correctly to children?

My simple answer to this is to again designate time to listen. This could be making sure there is a set time to have a " Things that worried me today", or " My favourite thing about today is" or something similar in which as a family you can express and listen to one another. You can also share things with your child about things you are proud about they have achieved that day to help them want to communicate more using phrases like " I am so glad you have been able to share that with me", or " You did some great listening today" will help the children be able to express themselves, listen to others points of views and feel able to communicate to you as a parent, which again is great for parents and children to be able to feel safe and feel they are able to trust one another. 


Making sure that children feel valued includes spending time actually giving eye contact to children and allowing them face to face time to learn and feel appreciated. It can be difficult for some children to feel they are comfortable and happy to be listened to and have space to be themselves and be seen.

Using Look to help children grow

With the world being more about social media it can be hard for parents to fully switch off, this is where all the practice of STOP and LISTEN come in, as this means 1-1 eye contact with your child or children. Allowing you to be able to focus attention with no interruptions on the child. This stage also falls into the other category too, as this will help with all areas and helping your relationship blossom and skills grow. Using eye contact with your child not only builds a bond and trust but also helps to develop social and emotional skills within the child. Using the look technique you can also build on learning emotions and using it as a role-playing game to help bond even more and spend some time together the aim is simple really, you make a facial expression and the other person needs to try and guess what emotion they are feeling. This allows you to be creative and show different ways the face can show happiness and upset etc. Everyone is different and there is a range of emotions that can be explored by creating looks. Taking time to get to know your child can help in a large number of ways and also enable them to feel they are worthy of your time. Being able to allow your child/children to express themselves allows them to develop the skills they may need later to debate, or story tells and engage with others. You can also use this time to help build up confidence as a lot of children will have some form of bullying and like everyone have things about themselves they do not like this can simply be done by saying " your hair looks lovely today", " I really like the outfit you have chosen today it really suits you", " your makeup is very pretty today, maybe you can tell me what products you used". This then gives the children some self-worth and confidence, it can also make the situation easier and enable them to look at you and convocation should then follow easier. If your child is having a bad day then this exercise also helps to recognise signs especially if you do the exercises like the emotional game. You can also see as you do this daily when the child is naturally happy or if something is bothering them from the way their face changes. 

Finally remember when you are next feeling stressed, anxious or tired to STOP, LISTEN AND LOOK. You are a fantastic parent and you have the skills and knowledge you need. 

The current lockdown as enabled families to become closer and spend more time together due to parents being off work and children's schools clothing you can read about a familys life lessons they learnt in lockdown here


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