Before approaching a situation, you may find it helpful to remember these steps:
- STOP ... and Recognize
that this could be a situation in which you may be able to help. Is the parent Overwhelmed? Preoccupied? Or Angry? If the situation you're observing makes you stop and take notice, then chances are that you could do something to help.
- TAKE A MOMENT ... and Get Ready
to step in. Do whatever you need to remain calm. You could to take a deep breath, smile or think about what you might want to say or do. If you don't feel up to stepping-in, be sure to get someone else who can help ... like another co-worker or your supervisor.
- TRY "ONE KIND WORD" ...
by Connecting with, Distracting or Assisting
the parent or child. You can make a difference just by saying OneKindWord, or by showing a kind gesture. Your actions may be all it takes to help a parent get through a difficult experience with their child and stop a situation from getting worse.
|Try some of these ideas when stepping in to help:|
|CONNECT||with the parent by saying something like: "It's not easy, is it? Is there anything I can do to help?" or "I remember when my kids used to do that, too. Hang in there."|
|DISTRACT||attention away from the child. Sometimes just your physical presence will help. Move closer to the situation and keep your eye on things to make sure it doesn't escalate. Talk to the parent or child (about anything - the weather, parenting, etc.) You could also use humor if you think it would be appropriate and helpful.|
|ASSIST||the parent by offering to help. Sometimes an extra pair of hands is all that is needed. You can offer to help clean a mess, if the child dropped, broke or knocked something down; or if a parent has more than one child with them, you can offer to stand with a child while the parent helps the other child calm down.|
|And don't forget that if at any time you are concerned for your safety or for the child or parent's safety, you should STEP AWAY from the situation and alert a manager (if at a store or other public venue) or security.|