8 ways in which the RIE approach has shaped my parenting.

The RIE (Resources in Infant Educaring) approach incorporates

a deep respect and appreciation of the baby as more than a helpless object, Magda Gerber’s Educaring® Approach encourages infants and adults to trust each other, learn to problem solve, and embrace their ability for self-discovery. When allowed to unfold in their own way and in their own time, children discover and inspire the best in themselves and in others – RIE.org

The basic principles of the RIE philosophy make the most perfect sense to me and sit right at the heart of my parenting approach and my work with young children and caregivers . Here I share 8 articles by RIE associate Janet Lansbury which illustrate some of  ways in which the educaring approach has influenced the way I parent.

+ Use authentic communication

We speak in our authentic voices (though a bit more slowly with babies and toddlers), use real words and talk about real things, especially things that directly pertain to our babies and that are happening now. We encourage babies to build communication skills by asking them questions, affording them plenty of time to respond, always acknowledging their communication. – Janet Lansbury

Article: RIE Parenting Basics

+ Acknowledge feelings

Acknowledge your child’s feelings and wishes, even if they seem ridiculous, irrational, self-centered or wrong. This is not the same as agreeing, and is definitely not indulgent or allowing an undesirable behavior. – Janet Lansbury

Article: The Key To Your Childs Heart (7 Ways It Works)

+ Encourage uninterrupted, self-directed play

Little-known fact: when we sit quietly and are passive, yet receptive and attentive to our children while they play, they feel just as nurtured by our companionship (if not more so) than they do when we are actively involved.  It is a profoundly validating experience for children to be able to hold our interest without having to ask or work for it. Without a word of our praise, our appreciation is palpable. – Janet Lansbury

Article: Stop Entertaining Your Toddler

+ Reframe Praise

Praising our children is a knee-jerk reaction that takes constant self-reminders to control. I still find myself starting to say “great job” to my children, and switching gears into, “You must be really proud of yourself!” It’s a fine distinction, but an important one.  – Janet Lansbury

Article: Praising Child, Risking Failure

+ Use gentle discipline

There seems to be a common misconception that gentle, non-punitive discipline means avoiding a direct confrontation with the child rather than providing the simple, connected response children need when, for example, they hit the dog.  In this case, appropriate discipline would mean getting down on the floor next to the child, making eye contact and saying calmly, “I won’t let you hit the dog, that hurts” while holding the child’s hand or otherwise blocking the hit. – Janet Lansbury

Article: If Gentle Discipline Isn’ Working, This Might Be The Reason

+ No forced apologies

We are powerful examples for our children of all that is human. We teach “I’m sorry” best by modeling it. Children need to hear us apologize to others, and also to them. They need to know that human beings are not perfect. When we say to our child, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake,” we give the child permission to make mistakes too. – Janet Lansbury

Article: You’ll Be Sorry

+  Give time and space to solve problems

Children need the opportunity to solve problems on their own. Parents can create rather than deprive children of this opportunity by resisting an automatic impulse to ‘open the jar.’ Yes, it is counter-intuitive to refrain from assisting a child!   But when we help a child to do something she might be able to do for herself, we are robbing her of a vital learning experience and ultimately not helping at all. – Janet Lansbury

Article: A Jar Not Opened (Babies Solving Problems)

+ No forced sharing

No parent feels comfortable when their child takes from another, holds on to toys that another wants to use, or seems upset because another child will not share with him. But these situations usually look far worse from our point-of-view than they do from our child’s. When we unnecessarily intervene in a struggle by insisting that a child shares, we rob him of a social learning experience. – Janet Lansbury

Article: The S Word – Toddler’s Learning To Share

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