Parenting is tough, and of course, the tantrums that necessitate rapid and loving correction. You may not even consider how you interact with your child.
But if you’re looking for new approaches to explore, some parents have found success with RIE parenting.
How to do it?
Communication is possibly the most crucial aspect of RIE parenting, according to Gerber. Janet Lansbury, a parent educator, emphasizes that “we communicate truthfully” with newborns and toddlers.
This debate is about:
- Demonstrating respect
- Real-time updates on daily events
- Recognizing a child’s feelings
Here are certain things you ought to keep in mind:
Making a baby-safe household is equally crucial. Your child’s environment should allow them to move freely and naturally.
This includes paying attention to your child’s emotional and cognitive needs when it comes to toys.
Method in action
If an infant is left alone, the environment should contain toys and furniture that are entirely safe. A demarcated space or a fence around non-age-appropriate items may be appropriate.
For example, choking hazard toys should be avoided.
Something to remember is that everyone’s home is distinctive. Author Deborah Carlisle Solomon summarizes Gerber’s approach by saying, “if your baby was left alone all day, she would be hungry, angry, and need a new diaper when you arrived.”
Schedule solo play
RIE parenting focuses on allowing even very young infants to play alone and unattended. As a parent, you might marvel at your child’s play and learning.
Lansbury advises caregivers to “trust that [their] child’s play choices are enough.”
Method in action
RIE parenting favors essential, open-ended toys. Toys like battery-operated toys are overstimulating and noisy. The idea is to get your child to play on their own.
How long? Lansbury recommends 15 minutes to 3 hours or more.
Start by devoting your complete attention to your infant. After a few minutes, tell them you’ll be nearby, possibly cooking dinner, and that it’s time to play.
Then let them do whatever he wants (safely, of course!). Gerber also recommended that babies have time to connect with other babies and toddlers their age.
Participate in your child’s care
In RIE parenting, you want your child to participate in bathing, diapering, and feeding actively. How can this be helpful? The initial focus is on communicating the procedure.
Method in action
Mamas in the Making blogger Nadine advises that instead of taking up your baby and changing their diaper, you should first discuss what will happen.
“I see you’re playing now”. I’d want to change your diaper, so I’ll pick you up and carry you to the changing table immediately.”
Then say, “I’ll take your trousers off now so we can change your diaper.” I’ll take your diaper off and clean you. Now I’ll change my diaper.”
As your child grows, you can give them minor duties like obtaining diapers and wipes, undressing (with help), and so on.
Observe your child’s needs
The RIE parenting website ‘Educaring’ emphasizes that caregivers observe and listen to their infants and toddlers to uncover their needs.
This means less talking and more listening.
Parents can also observe how much their child learns and changes in the first 2 to 3 years of life.
According to proponents of RIE, a parent can spend less time putting up learning opportunities and more time enjoying the gains their child achieves on her own. Almost too good!
Method in action
It is okay to let your child cry— according to RIE experts, crying is a form of communication. So instead of ignoring the baby’s cries, parents and caregivers should listen to what they are saying.
Provide comfort, but don’t reach for the pacifier or breast, or bottle.
If the infant is hungry, eating may assist. Otherwise, calmly ask your child, “You’re crying. What’s wrong?” Make sure they have a clean diaper and food.
RIE advocates believe that babies scream to express themselves. Parents must respond, but not necessarily by bouncing a baby for hours or nursing all night.
Consistency is crucial
Consistency! All of these principles rely on it. Consistency in a child’s environment, communication, and day-to-day existence promote safety.
Beyond that, it builds expectations for youngsters.
Method in action
When it comes down to getting your child to sleep, create a routine that you follow every night. To develop appropriate [sleep] habits in general, Gerber advises having a routine daily life.
Baby thrives on performance.” To assist your child in acquiring rhythm, keep a consistent waking, eating, and sleeping schedule.
How can I learn more?
You can take RIE parenting classes. Also, there are currently over 60 RIE specialists spread around the United States and the world. Most are in California or New York.
Don’t worry if you don’t live near a class location. There is plenty of information about this strategy online and in books.
One of Magda Gerber’s resources is Janet Lansbury’s Elevating Child Care blog.
Other Facebook pages and groups include:
- Infant Educators’ Tools
- Baby’s Best (Deborah Carlisle Solomon)
- Create Safe Spaces for Kids (Polly Elam)
- Good Parent (from RIE 3-Teen)
If you’d rather read in a library or on your Kindle, here are some suggestions:
- Magda Gerber’s Dear Parent: Respecting Infants
- Deborah Carlisle Solomon
- Janet Lansbury’s Elevating Child Care: A Parenting Guide
RIE parenting benefits
RIE parenting has several benefits. Other solutions do not allow parents to take care of their needs without guilt. “RIE has helped me feel confident in my boundaries,” Sweeney says. “I use the bathroom when I need to, even if my [toddler-age] daughter is stamping in another room.”
RIE parenting also relieves parents of the obligation to occupy their children constantly. Since young newborns are encouraged and expected to engage in independent play, parents are relieved of the daily entertainment burden.
Allowing your infant to set their own pace is another benefit. Instead of dictating their actions, they have some input and might feel empowered even at a young age.
They can also pick what they want to do rather than always being told what to do. Giving your youngster your complete attention has obvious benefits.
Observing and tuning in might help you bond and feel close. That’s something remarkable!
RIE parenting critics
The RIE parenting method is not universally praised. From birth on, RIE regards newborns as adults. In the “fourth trimester,” children still want the intimacy and comfort of their mother’s womb.
Others believe Gerber’s theories on crying are outmoded. It’s not clear whether Gerber was proper when he said that babies could self-soothe.
Another issue is that the RIE appears to be “rigid” when it comes to playing. Gerber believed that babies should be left on their backs to play.
Some newborns may enjoy this posture, but others may find it uncomfortable or prefer to have a range of different positions.
The most valuable takeaway is to monitor and observe when your child is emotionally charged. If this strategy is something you’re interested in, give it a shot.
Do a walk-through of your child’s environment to make sure everything is safe before moving forward. As you pay attention to your infant, you might be surprised at the things you learn about their preferences and requirements.