“Stop, Start, Continue” is a quick and easy way to assess and communicate what your family or child wants to stop doing, start doing, or what is already working well and needs to continue.
Simply print out a copy of the form below for each person to get started:
|File Size:||288 kb|
In this column, list things or actions that you want to STOP doing. These are things that are hurting family or individuals. They can be as simple as “stop putting shoes by the front door” or as serious as “stop swearing”. Each person gets to fill out their own form, and each person gets time to read their list and explain why these are things that they feel need to stop. Listen closely and attentively as each person expresses their feelings and needs. As a parent, when you hear your child’s STOP list, do not argue with your child over these points or try to justify why these things might be happening…simply listen and try to understand that these are things that your child is brave enough to tell you about.
In this column, list things or actions that you want to START doing. These are things that the person feels would be a solution to a problem, or simply add happiness or positivity to life. They can be as simple as “always give a hug and kiss before leaving the house” or as serious as “I want to start spending time with Dad each day”. Again, each person gets to fill out their own form, and each person gets time to read their list and explain why these are things that they feel should start happening. As a parent, listen very closely to your child’s list! They are communicating important things that they feel that they need in their life. Try to be open and accepting of these ideas and praise your child for being open with you about their needs.
After you’ve discussed the STOP and START columns, finishing with CONTINUE items is a great way to agree on what is already going well and working! In this column, list things or actions that are already happening, that you want to continue doing. Such as, “Clearing our dishes after meal time is working” or “reading a story before bed” or “playing board games on Sunday night together makes me happy”. Each person gets to fill out their own form, and each person gets time to read their list and explain why these are things that they want to continue doing.
After you have used this form to facilitate your discussion, parents need to decide how to adjust what is happening in the home. Perhaps changes need to be made to reflect the needs and desires of the family. Perhaps you decide to STOP certain behaviors or actions, START adding new ideas and actions into the family routine, and make sure that you CONTINUE those things that the family enjoys and depends on.
Tips for Using this Strategy:
~Be sure to listen attentively to your child, without interruption. Every person needs to feel safe enough to share their items. The more you listen, the more your child will open up to you and share deeper needs and concerns.
~Be sure to follow through on any changes you have decided to make. This shows your children that you listened, and that you place priority on their needs.
~Repeat this activity as often as you need! The more you use it, communicate with it, and implement it, the more open your family will become to discussion and sharing.
~Try using this strategy with an INDIVIDUAL CHILD. Print out one form for your child. Have them privately fill out the form. Find a quiet, private place to sit and have a conversation. Take time to let your child read all of their items in their STOP column. Be sure to listen, ask questions, and thank them for their thoughts. Go over their START column. Find out why your child values starting these things and ask how starting these new things would help the child, you or even the family. And finally, go over their CONTINUE column. As you go over their CONTINUE column, be sure to ask why the child wants to continue these items. Find out what they love! Be sure to calmly approach this process, and be sure to try to solve at least one STOP item, begin one START item, and continue doing what is already going well! Repeat this activity again soon, to re-evaluate how things are going. Most kids simply want to be heard and have their feelings validated!