As parents, we are constantly juggling multiple responsibilities. Sometimes we make mistakes due to interruptions or fatigue. Let’s face the truth, it’s easy to become distracted when you have young children! It’s no wonder many parents struggle to maintain focus and accuracy while completing daily tasks. This lack of focus can lead to potential errors or even safety hazards. This article will teach you how using STAR (Stop, Think, Act, Resolve) to minimize errors at home.

Why talk about error prevention in parenthood?

No one is perfect, and parents are not immune to coming up short sometimes. Error prevention techniques can provide a range of benefits to parents. By taking a few extra seconds to stop and think before initiating a task, you can avoid mistakes that might otherwise require additional time and effort to correct.

For example, if a parent forgets to sign a permission slip for a school trip, they may have to take time out of their day to go to the school and sign it, causing stress and potentially disrupting other plans. By using error prevention techniques like the STAR method, you can reduce the likelihood of these kinds of oversights.

A sad story

After helping my child with his science project, on the day of the science fair, I failed to show up. I disappointed my son and myself. What happened? I allowed myself to become distracted and totally forgot to run over to the school at the appointed time. My anguish over the incident made me look back to my experience as a nurse and how I was taught to minimize errors at the hospital. 

The Healthcare Model of Error Prevention

Hospitals around the world are heavily invested in error prevention. Various organizations have come up with many different approaches to increasing safety. One of the techniques I believe has multiple applications is the STAR method.

What is the STAR Method?

The STAR method is a self-check technique to reduce errors. Hospitals use it to prevent medical mistakes. STAR stands for Stop, Think, Act, and Review.

What are the benefits of using the STAR Method at home?

In homes with young children, mistakes are common due to the demanding nature of parenthood. The STAR method is helpful in preventing errors that can happen when you are engaged in the following:

  • Repetitive tasks
  • Multitasking
  • Under time pressure
  • Experiencing interruptions
  • Distractions
  • High-stress levels

The Star Method Steps

  1. Stop: Pause for at least 1 second when initiating a task. Bring your full attention to what you’re about to do. Avoid going into autopilot mode while doing repetitive tasks.
  2. Think: Consider what you want to accomplish, make a plan, and prepare for unexpected situations.
  3. Act: Concentrate and carry out your task following your plan.
  4. Review: Check to ensure that you completed the task correctly.

Scenario: Using STAR at Home

Let’s use our knowledge of the STAR steps in the following scenario. Suppose your child is experiencing a lot of pain due to a sprained ankle. After considering your options, you decide to give them some Motrin to see if it helps. Here’s how you can use the STAR method to minimize errors:

Stop: Take a second to focus on what you’re doing. Ensure that you’ve choosen the correct medication bottle.

Think: Review the dosing instructions and ensure that you’re giving your child the correct amount of medication. Check when you last gave the medication and avoid giving it too early.

Act: Confident that you have all the necessary information, prepare the medicine and get it ready to give to your child.

Review: Do a quick mental check to ensure that you’ve done everything correctly before giving the medicine to your child.

Situations Where Using STAR Can Help Parents

  • When initiating a comfort intervention
  • When participating in higher risk activities such as swimming, hiking and driving
  • When trying to complete a task while experiencing distractions or interruptions
  • When experiencing high-stress levels

Final Thoughts

If I had taken a few moments in my day to stop and think about what I was doing, I might not have missed out on my son’s science fair. I’ve recommitted myself to embracing error techniques in my daily life outside of hospital nursing.

It’s okay that we make mistakes, after all, we are only human. It’s also okay to recognize when there may be some opportunities to improve. By following the four steps of the STAR method – STOP, THINK, ACT, and REVIEW, we can improve our focus and decrease the errors that challenge us in our daily lives.

Looking for more ideas to help keep your kids safe? Check out these articles: Hot cars and kids safety, firework safety with kids, and trampoline safety.

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