Rethinking the plan!

I have a new fridge. It's not the most up-to-date or flashiest fridge, however, it does have a really cool water dispenser. Okay, I have to manually fill the water container.... but let's not talk about that boring fact.

I figured that Nick would also find our new toy quite interesting. Not so. Ho hum. Bearing this in mind, I decided to plan an activity around the dispenser. It would be a proactive challenge for us and the outcome would mean that Nick could help himself to cold water whenever he wanted.

As always I wrote up a wee little plan.

What is the activity about?  Guiding Nick on how to use the water dispenser.

What will I do?  I will model the process a few times and then we will use a simultaneous pattern. I take a turn, Nick takes a turn.

Language style: I will use declarative comments to describe the process. I will keep the pacing of the activity slow in order for Nick to observe and process my modeling. I will add in pauses to give Nick time to make his own plan using the information he has seen from my modeling.

What limits will I set? Remove any distracting elements. After modeling how to collect the water we will only take three turns each.

Reminder: Although I am teaching Nick a skill, I have more interest in our connection and co-regulatory experience. The skill will become natural with time and practice.

Feedback from the activity.

I invited Nick to the fridge so that I could show him our new toy. He became a little agitated and indicated "finished". This is Nick's standard reaction when faced with anything new (even chocolate!!). I reassured him and let him know that he just needed to watch me. I modeled how to put the drinking glass to the dispenser on the fridge door and "push, push, push" to get the water. I observed that Nick had reached his edge and was teetering there precariously. Again, I acknowledged that it was new (a new experience) and bit scary for him. I reminded him that he only needed to watch me.  Due to Nick's stress level, I had a quick rethink about my original plan. I then decided not to invite him to take a turn with the glass. His role for today's activity was to be an observer. 

Nick calmed down as I continued to slowly model the process and quietly explain what I was doing, I could sense that he was in the moment and paying attention. On a couple of occasions, he even prodded the water dispenser with his finger. At the end of my modeling, I took a sip of the water and did a quick recap on what we had done. Nick listened and then proceeded to walk away...... We ended on a productive note!

Moral of the story

It helps tremendously to have a plan, however, it is important to be flexible and rethink the plan if necessary. 


This is me being flexible and breaking from my regular pattern of photographing pretty flowers! I planned the image I wanted to capture.... and then deliberately moved the camera!


  1. Yes, being flexible is crucial. As it is, if you'll pardon the pun, to go with the flow!
    You have reminded me of something that I worked out form myself years ago. Before I'd ever heard of RDI or anything like it, and I was trying to introduce my extremely fussy eater (and extremely skinny one) to try new foods. If he didn't run away that was job done for that day. If he licked it that was job done for day 2....or 10. And so forth :) xx

    1. Nice one, Jazzy. It's all about mindful parenting, hey?


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