Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Three Stars and A Wish - a technique for talking about achievements (and issues)

I first came across this technique when I was a Primary School Teacher.  As a way to ensure that I was being positive about a child's efforts, and also as a tool for the children to use when they were peer-assessing.  You have to think of three great things (or things that the child has clearly made an effort with) about the piece of work, and then one thing that could be improved.  For example: *You've really tried to join your handwriting; *I love the first line of this story, it makes me want to read more; *You've used good adjectives to describe Goldilocks; WISH - please read through afterwards to make sure you've used full stops.

So how does that relate to parenting?  I've found this a great technique to talk to C about his day.  It wouldn't work at all with Bug, as she's only just three and still lives in the moment.  If I asked her three things she's proud of from the day, then she'd come up with three things from the last five minutes, including things she's been scolded for!  C though is a more sensitive soul, and loves to use this tool to think about how his day has gone.  We don't do it every day, but he does ask for it every now and then when we're snuggled up for a good-night cuddle.  He has to think of three things from the day that he has done really well and is proud of (sometimes I help), and one thing which he wishes he hadn't done or he would like to do better.  So the other day his choices were: *Putting the toys and bikes away in the garden without being reminded; *Getting dressed in the morning quickly and without moaning; *Being brave and getting back on my bike after I'd fallen off and hurt myself; WISH - making a big fuss and getting angry when Bug accidentally stood on my game.

As you can see, it's a good way of getting the child to think about the things they do well, but also what they could do better; and if the evening has been a bit of a disaster, it's nice to talk about the good things that happened in the day just before sleep time.

What parenting techniques do you have?


  1. We do the rose and thorn of our days at bedtime. Something good that happened today(the rose) and something bad - or at least not-so-good. Not so much as a discipline thing but an opener to communication. Especially if something bad HAS happened. Pre-teens are awkward!

  2. I like that, and it sounds like something that can be two-way. You talking about your rose and thorn openly to encourage sharing from Chook. I haven't worked out yet what might work with Bug - she's just so ... independent!