Having a blitz

We are having a home day and it feels so good.  No rush, no stress, just a slow meandering type of day. I have been pottering about the kitchen and Nick has been parking off on the sofa, either listening to music or playing on the iPad.

Now, I am not one to sit back and let an opportunity pass me by (I exaggerate!!); so I figured that today could be used to connect with my boy.

I decided to invite Nick to join me in a few activities, using an RDI approach.

For each engagement I chose the roles that we were going to play, the comfortable and familiar pattern to start off with, the challenge that I was going to introduce and the style of language to use. I reminded myself to take it slow, pause a lot and give Nick time to hear the info, process the info and then react. Easier said than done I know..... but after a while on the RDI road, it becomes a piece of cake (cough, cough!).

In the process of cleaning up the kitchen I found a game that I had bought for Nick. Woohoo, great start to doing *stuff*.  The boy, who was all nice and snug on the sofa, was very happy to turn off his music and take a look at what I had to offer. We spent a few minutes going through the game and taking turns to collect letters in order to make simple words.

I then got a bee in my bonnet and emptied out the very messy bottom shelf of my pantry cupboard. I took a look at the dust, crumbs and tiny bits of rubbish that were gracing the cupboard and had an *aha* moment. We could use the small dustpan and brush to sweep out the mess. After hunting high and low for what was needed, I stood next to Nick with dustpan in hand  (yep, he was back on that couch!); and casually mentioned that I needed some help cleaning the cupboard. Well, he was up in a flash, although needed a little encouragement to put the iPad to one side (I frowned and gazed from the iPad to the bench). Thereafter, we worked so well together, one person holding the dustpan and the other working the brush. We then swapped roles. It went very smoothly and Nick seemed to enjoy the challenge.

Due to the cupboard clean out, I had a pile of junk now sitting in my Butler's sink. Another opportunity to invite Nick to help! I dragged in the large rubbish bin from the garage and together we took turns to transfer the rubbish from the sink to the bin. I used non verbal communication for this activity to slow down Nick's actions and encourage him to look to me for guidance. I felt a little pang when Nick picked up his old cassette player. He looked at it, fiddled around with the buttons and then put it in the bin. Out with the past!!

I was also left with a heap of stuff to keep.... but it was in need of a wash. Our next activity involved washing one item at a time and then passing that item to the other person. I scaffolded the activity by modeling how to use a dish brush; while making comments about what I was doing (talking aloud). Nick was so chilled and also very comfortable about swapping roles with me. It was interesting to note that he really battled with holding and washing at the same time. Something for us to work on another time.

After such a busy morning, it was time for Nick's lunch. Together we collected the fruit and veg needed for his juice. As I prepped the fruit, I invited Nick to help me cut them into pieces. Then I introduced the challenge of peeling the carrots. It just blows my mind how relaxed Nick was when confronted with something that is potentially hard for him. Of course he battled BUT he tried. I was there right beside him, guiding him when needed and assisting when required.

I always used to stress over what sort of RDI activities to do with Nick! Crazy really. In fact, it is so helpful to just take a look at my day and the things that I want to do. I can then fine tune my plans to include Nick in the process. #Mindfulguiding is my middle name! :-)

Do you find it easy to include your child?

A little bit fruity!

I wrote the following in February, 2014.

 "I continue to worry about the cereal problem; and let's be frank here; eating cereal three times a day is not good. Thankfully I have friends who kindly kicked some sense into me and motivated me to start making changes. So, I have decided to start *the big food change*.

I tested the water by giving Nick the same evening meal as us; it didn't go down too well and I realised that the jump was too big for him. I needed to start off with a familiar food and slowly introduce new tastes and experiences. Fruit was going to be the best option to start with"


To date, all is going well and we continue to move forward one step at a time. Nick is still having cereal (the healthiest one possible!); however, it is only once a day and it is for breakfast.

Lunch time is the easiest option to introduce new foods as this is when I have more time to devote to making any changes. Nick has a freshly homemade fruit and vegetable juice for lunch, which generally consists of an orange, a small handful of baby spinach, two carrots and an apple. I always add in a fifth/sixth ingredient, depending what I have in the fruit bowl or fridge. Admittedly we are a bit stuck on having the same old juice but I am applying the concept *same but different* to introduce slight variations.*In order for Nick to not become 'stuck' on having a juice every day of the week, we do miss the occasional day.

Nick has always enjoyed eating apples, therefore I decided to use them as a starting point. Bananas were introduced as a second fruit; and as with anything new, I gave him two little pieces to try. Initially when we first started on this new food journey, Nick dug in his heels and refused to eat. I helped scaffold the situation by letting him know (visually) that he could eat his fruit and then have some toast! A little bit of bribery did the trick, although during the first few days Nick would sit there looking at the fruit for a good half an hour before eventually giving in! My only rule was that Nick wasn't allowed to leave the table without my permission. If he did leave, I made a little noise to get his attention and then indicate that he needed to come back. Amazingly he did!

We are still on the apple and banana combo, however, each day I put something different on his plate. Yep, that *same but different* concept! He is never wildly delighted with new tastes but will now endeavor to try them. There is also no more sitting there frowning at the food, although he will often try to feed me the *other stuff*. I just shake my head for "no" and he will pop it into his own mouth. VoilĂ , all over in seconds!

To be honest we still have a long way to go on this crazy food journey, although Nick has made some good progress in only a few months. He has gone from being the kid who refused to try new food (and was slowly eliminating all other familiar food except for cereal, toast and apples) to increased flexibility about trying something different. I haven't made food into an issue and I am slowly and carefully adding further variations/tastes. 

I threw my boy another little challenge today. Spot the difference! 

Anyone else out there having problems over food?


I am linking up with Ethan's Escapes #SSAmazingAchievements.... cos he is so cute! :-)

Ethans Escapades

Water Wise!

Out of the blue, Nick picked up my glass of water and drank it! He only drinks juice (very diluted with water) so he must have been really thirsty to blow caution to the wind and gulp down the whole lot!

It got me thinking..... 

Time to get this boy drinking water.
What would happen to him if he ever found himself alone without anyone to guide him?
Would he actually go to the tap and pour himself a glass of water?


The perfect activity for an RDI planned engagement!

Drinking Water!


When planning my framework, I decided to use declarative language to invite Nick to respond. For example: I would say something along the lines of: "we need two cups, one for me and one for you". 

Note: Nick is very comfortable with his role of collecting the cups, therefore the start of our activity is relaxed and Nick feels competent. 


I also decided on our roles, as in, who would do what. For example; I would put water into my cup and then Nick would put water into his cup. This part of the engagement would be Nick's *plus one*, as he finds it difficult to judge how much water to put into the cup.

Note: Nick handled the challenge well, although he still filled up the cup. I made sure to spotlight the difference between the amounts of water in each cup. This is a work in progress. 


For the third part of our framework I decided that it would be a great idea to drink our water *together*. I chose a reciprocal pattern and Nick had to observe me and coordinate his actions with mine. 

Note: Nick is a little bothered. He can easily match his actions with mine; however, in this case I know that he really wasn't keen on drinking the water. I am thrilled that he stayed with me and it is wonderful to see his resilience.


Note to self:

Plan a framework around an activity.
Designate roles and role actions
Be mindful about communication methods
Start off with a familiar action that Nick feels competent with
Add in a small challenge
Spotlight the challenge before it happens
Spotlight the challenge after it has happened
Assess the situation. Has Nick reached his limit (edge plus one) or can we carry on for another step?