This guest blog post was written by RDI veteran parent Di Maitland. You can read the original here. 

Thinking up planned engagements doesn’t have to be hard work. It is also not necessary to spend a lot of time on each engagement/activity. I find with Nick that if I spend too long on any one thing, the actual activity starts feeling like a chore. I don’t want Nick to feel…..’groan, here we go again!’ I prefer giving myself some sort of limit to guide me when to stop the activity, ensuring that I keep it short. Over time I have found that this approach keeps Nick interested and he is never resistant about joining me.

As always, when planning an engagement I take into account what Nick feels comfortable doing and ensure that I add in a little challenge. I decide on my objective/goals for the activity, what limits I am going to set and the style of language I want to use. It is so helpful to have a plan in place and it’s not difficult to jot down your thoughts. I find that a written framework for an activity helps to keep me on track. I can also reflect on our experience and write down my thoughts on my approach for next time. Simple, yet effective.

Related: A Lesson Learned

Two easy planned engagements this afternoon. 
1:  I invited Nick to help me find the ingredients for Bolognese sauce. My role was to let him know what I needed. His role was to find each item. Nick is familiar with this type of scenario, however, this time I introduced items that he was unsure of. He did require extra scaffolding and I used eye gaze and declarative comments to assist him. My self imposed limit for this activity was seven items. Once they had been found, the activity ended.
 
 
 
2:  I asked Nick to turn off his iPad and invited him to help me wash the dishes. He responded immediately and came to check out what I was doing. I had set aside eight items. My role was to wash an item and pass it to Nick. His role was to rinse the item and place on the drying rack. Nick was unaware of what was expected, so I modelled the sequence for him before inviting him to take a turn. He picked up on the pattern quickly, although at times missed out on rinsing. I made little noises or declarative comments to remind him to rinse. 
We all have household chores to do and they offer up many opportunities for planned engagements. If you are a regular reader, you will know that we cook a lot of Bolognese sauce! No matter how many times I cook it, there is always a different way to introduce a new challenge to Nick…… and that includes cleaning up the mess! 🙂
Happy cooking!
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