AHA moment ~ planning is the key!

Hello, I thought that the following might be of interest to some of you! :)  

If you have been following my blog, you will know that I am working on the relationship between myself and Nick. Having a 'connection' with my son is what gets me through the day. I can't just let him be to do his own thing ~ I would end up with a spaced out computer junkie who shows no interest in the people around him! I am also against forcing him to conform to whatever it is that society/Joe Public expects. 

"Utmost to me is the fact that I am not interested in 'changing' him, just developing his potential" (I pinched this from Kate because I really loved it!)

In this latest post I have included two video clips. Each clip shows us bouncing on the trampoline, however, there is a huge difference between each clip.
The first clip was an impromptu interaction and the second clip was planned.  You will find  further information and my reflections after each clip! 

Trampoline # 1

1. What was the objective and assignment?
 Pause and attention
2. What was the frame for this objective?
 Jumping on the trampoline!
3. What was the challenge?  The challenge was to jump together. I also wanted to spotlight my pause and see if Nick was able to maintain my pause and my gaze.
4. What did you spotlight?
This activity wasn’t planned, therefore, I hadn’t really thought of what to spotlight.
5. Tell me if the challenge and spotlight were successful, what did you observe?The interaction was not successful. My main objective was for Nick to be comfortable on the trampoline with me ~ I observed that because I didn’t really have a plan in mind of what to do with Nick, he was feeling anxious. Due to his anxiety he wasn't able to maintain gaze with me.... he did pause; however, I felt (and could see) that he was in flight mode!

6. Did anything surprise you?
I didn't realise that Nick would switch off so completely.  I also thought I would be able to wing it BUT it didn't work!
7. Site one or two (or more if you like!) time codes that you feel are important and state WHY  they are important:  At 0.24 Nick wanted to hold hands with me and I declined. At 0.28 I bounced and Nick got a fright! I didn't pick up that Nick really needed the extra scaffolding to feel safe and secure! At 0.33 Nick switched off..... this is when I should have ended the interaction! At 1.00 Nick 'complied' with the interaction and this is where I can see that for Nick it was all about the task, not the interaction.

I have watched the above video clip a number of times!  I can see where I am trying to add in pause and attention, however, my lack of planning, my uncertainty with what I was doing and Nick's anxiety did not make for a successful interaction. I know that I wanted Nick to be happy to jump on the trampoline with me, however, all I did was to increase his anxiety ~ I removed scaffolding when he needed it. I kept him on the trampoline for too long.  He switched off and really didn't want to be there with me ~ he stayed because he thought it was expected of him!!
I am not going to beat myself up over it, however, it certainly makes me more aware that I need to be more mindful of our interactions ~ I need to take the time to plan exactly what I want to do with Nick and ensure that I don't push him too far past his level of competence! I don't want our interactions to be about the task. I want to have the connection with him...... and this clip really showed the lack of connection! Sad

Trampoline # 2

1. What was the objective and assignment?
 Pause and attention
2. What was the frame for this objective?
To jump on the trampoline ~ using a simultaneous parallel pattern. Hold hands and jump together. My limit was to jump….pause….jump…pause….jump...
3. What was the challenge?
The challenge was to pause after each jump and see if Nick could maintain the pause and my gaze until he ‘saw/felt’ we were going to jump again.
4. What did you spotlight?
 I spotlighted the pause after each jump.... and then spotlighted (using a facial expression) just before we were to jump again!
5. Tell me if the challenge and spotlight were successful, what did you observe?
 I felt that both were successful.  We held attention nicely and generally Nick waited for me before jumping. He held gaze with me for long periods of time and we were both comfortable with it.
6. Did anything surprise you?
Yes, I wasn't expecting it to be so successful! Stick out tongue
7. Site one or two (or more if you like!) time codes that you feel are important and state WHY  they are important: 
You will see in the video footage that I went onto the trampoline first and I just waited (we got some lovely pause and attention gaze going).
At 0.04 I chanted "I'm bouncing".... this was my invitation to Nick to come and join me! After a bit of 'processing time' he came to me Big Smile.
At 0.42 you will see me withdraw my hands from Nick - this was because he was trying to pull me off the trampoline - the easiest thing to do was to just step back slightly out of reach!!
At 0.53 I gave Nick my hands.... this time I was very aware that I needed to give some scaffolding!
At 1.01 Beautiful pause and attention Smile
At 1.08 - 1.32  Nick trying to take a bit of control but I just ignored him!
At 1.33 Yay, bouncing together!
At 1.44  more nice pause and attention!
At 1.47 lovely co-regulatory swinging of our arms.... 
8. What did you do well in this frame? I was pleased to see that I waited for Nick to respond (i.e. waiting for Nick to come from the swing). I used some declarative language to state what I was doing ~ a subtle invitation for him to join me. At one stage Nick tried to take control but I didn’t really respond to his “distractions” and we eventually got back into sync. I was happy with my pauses, perhaps they could have been for longer but in this instance they were 'good enough'. I also like that I initiated a co-regulatory pattern of swinging our arms.... and I was thrilled that Nick went with the flow!
9. Is there anything you would change? Can you find ways to incorporate this objective into more routines?
At this stage I wouldn't change anything! I am always thinking of interactions where I can bring in pause and attention!!

I went into this interaction fully prepared. I decided to be the first person on the trampoline and to give Nick the choice to join me if he wished! When he tried to pull me off the trampoline I knew that I needed to step back. I wanted to remain the person in control.... but still let him make the final decision to join me.  I knew exactly how many times I wanted us to jump together.  I was also more aware of the scaffolding that was needed ~ therefore I gave my hands to Nick for him to hold, and that remained a constant. There is one spot in the video that Nick starts to jump first (1.27) and we are slightly out of sync, however, I just waited and then I jumped - which enabled Nick to jump at the same time!
I was really thrilled with the outcome of this interaction. For the most part, we had a lovely co-regulatory pattern going on. There was a lot of nice pause and attention. Nick was feeling competent so he felt very comfortable referencing my face for information. I was feeling competent because I knew what I wanted to achieve! My best moment was towards the end of the video ~ we are just about to get off the trampoline, we are looking at each other and I start swinging my arm...... which starts Nick swinging his arm in sync  with mine!

I think that you will agree ~ planning makes perfect sense!


P.S. Please excuse any errors! I tend to write my posts at night and then get too tired to check my spelling and punctuation!!!


  1. Di,
    One of the things I see really clearly in this (and ignore me if I am making things up) is Nick's comfort in a set pattern (ie. pause, jump, pause, jump).
    It's interesting to note, not just the benefits gained from careful planning and preparation but also structural scaffolding to the experience. He seems much better able to handle a 'routine' and so could revel in the connection he so very, very clearly is capable of and values.

    His happy, engaged face is just priceless. A joy.


  2. What a huge difference! He wanted to be there and the whole interaction went so much more smoothly. :-)

  3. Hi Just found your blog, I love it and considering going down RDI route. I'm in Dublin Ireland, my daughter is nearly 4. Currently reading back your blog from the start, its really interesting and genuine. Kats

  4. Hi Kats,
    Welcome :)
    Feel free to ask any questions, I am always happy to share!


Thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment. x