Here are some ideas to incorporate RDI into your evening bath time routine.

Exploring and Experimenting / My idea, your idea – Gathering kitchen items to use in the tub. Each child / parent has a chance to gather something from the kitchen that they might want to use in the tub during bath time. Parent and child equally choose items to experiment with. Some ideas could include things like a strainer, egg beater, measuring cup, turkey baster, funnel, Ziploc bag. This also nurtures flexible thinking and problem solving because it helps kids think about familiar things in new ways.

More Exploring and Experimenting along with Anticipating and Predicting – Gather items from the kitchen to do a fun “sink or float” experiment to see which item will sink and which will float in the bath water. You can spotlight the NOT knowing or uncertainty as the BEST FUN part. Pause the moment prior to dropping the item in the water and exclaim “we don’t know for sure – but we can find out……. Hhhhere goes!” This is really helpful for kids who are afraid of not getting it right. The spotlighted message is that it is okay to NOT know – in fact it can be fun. Do NOT emphasize whether someone was right or not in their initial prediction especially if your child is afraid to take risk in case of being wrong.

Appraisal Process – Another great way to help promote mental engagement is to have your child begin to do a bit of the appraisal process. For example, is the water too cold, too hot or just right. Note – kids might be afraid of ‘too hot’ so you can model first by testing the water, then invite them to try it after you (as long as it’s not too hot). Also, when is there enough water? Enough bubble bath?  Enough toys? Using self-talk is an effective way to initialize this process and make your thinking transparent for your child.

Monitoring or simultaneous processing – Help your child learn to better shift and divide his attention by doing more than one task at a time. You may begin to fill the bath and while it’s filling (periodically check the temperature and water level) you add another simple task such as laying out PJ’s, clothes for the next day, getting a towel and wash cloth, brushing teeth.

Experience sharing – Bath time can also be a great time for connecting emotionally – no expectations just chillax time!! Practice your experience sharing communication. Work the moment of anticipation while pouring water over various parts of your child’s body, or blowing bubbles on different body parts can be fun too. This is also great for emotion sharing and warm fuzzy feelings. Hold that warm emotional face to face gazing – before you pour or blow – a moment or two longer than what you might normally do to really help encode those feelings.

Another creative idea is to put your swimsuit on and get right in the tub with your kiddo! I’ve personally done this and it’s a load of fun! Just wait to you see the look of surprise on your childs face when you begin to step in the tub with them. They love it! And talk about productive uncertainty!

Indirect prompts or communication effectiveness – Clean up time – gathering the bath toys or kitchen utensils can be done by delivering clues such as “I need the thing that I use at breakfast” or “We use this at Thanksgiving” or “I need the red round thing” – this style of communication encourages mental engagement, thinking, referencing and monitoring for communication comprehension.

Non-verbal communication – Practice non-verbal communication by showing him which body part to wash next – all non-verbally. So Fun! And more engaging and less demanding than telling your child what to do.

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