How would it feel to do a little less in your parenting today?
I’m asking myself this question a lot lately, because I find I’ve gotten wrapped up in old patterns of doing MORE these last few weeks, and it doesn’t feel great.
I mean a specific kind of “doing more” here, one that looks like:
Picking out my son’s clothes and putting them on him, piece by piece
Reminding him to take his plate over to the sink when he’s done eating
Talking over him in the middle of a big feeling.
I know why I’m doing all of this, despite my belief (and tangible evidence) that most of it isn’t helpful. Read More
Every family has its own heartbreaks, sooner or later.
But how to meet and manage the pain and sadness of these times without shutting down is a whole other story. And having kids complicates how (or if) we are able to work with it. It also raises questions about how much (or whether) to share it with our children. Read More
One of the biggest challenges we face as parents is knowing how to respond when our children have a big feeling—when they get angry, very sad, frustrated, or even super excited.
This work begins for us when our babies are tiny, when they sometimes cry for prolonged periods for seemingly no reason.
And it continues as our children grow into older babies, toddlers, and beyond.
How we meet our child’s big feelings will teach them how to meet their own feelings, and, I’d argue, how to understand themselves as they grow. Read More
As I’ve written about before, play is so much more than meaningless fun for kids.
Just as independent play is an important part of your child’s development, play with you facilitates a greater bond between you and your child, and deepens his trust in you.
Play is one of the main ways our kids connect with us—their most important grownups. It offers your child some of the warmth and closeness he needs a good healthy dose of daily.
In addition to all of these benefits, play is also an amazing tool to help increase our kids’ cooperation, improve their behavior, and decrease the struggle that we often face with everyday tasks. Read More
I often say to parents that play is like the blood that runs through your child’s veins. He absolutely thrives on it—in fact he needs it to grow, develop, understand the world, and process his experiences.
Play helps your child discover what he can do, as well as what he can’t (yet) do. It gives him a chance to experiment (will this ball fit into this container? How about this one?), to practice building his skills (if I jump off this sidewalk 100 more times, I will do it without stumbling!), and through this process of discovery, experimentation, and practice, develop his self-confidence. Read More
New parents often tell me that they struggle to get any kind of self-care once their baby arrives. I can relate—after my son was born I felt totally disconnected from the habits that had nurtured me before his arrival.
Here’s a little secret. One of the best things you can do for your young baby also comes with a bonus: it’s self-care for you, too.
That thing that is so good for both of you is simple (and yes, hard too): put your baby down. Read More
There are so many opinions out there about what you need to do to get ready for your new baby. As useful as these tips can be, they overshadow some of the most important kinds of preparation. We need to be prepared for how to be with our babies, not just for what we’ll swaddle or stroll them in.
Luckily, the Educaring Approach® (commonly known as RIE® parenting or respectful parenting) is the perfect support system for the intense early days of parenting. Here’s how you can practice some of the Approach’s most effective—yet quite simple—tools before your baby even arrives. Read More
One of my favorite RIE® Basic Principles is “trust in the infant’s competence.” Starting from birth, we trust that our baby is capable of—and interested in—learning and exploring the world to the degree she is ready. This means we allow her ample space and time to reach milestones on her own, or even to do things like grasp a toy without our help.
The big idea behind this principle is that, if given the space and time to learn and explore on his own, our child will not only develop beautifully, he will also cultivate a sense of his own capacity and capability from a very early age.
I think this principle is applicable to our children long past infancy—indeed, throughout their developmental years. Here’s how trusting our kids’ unfolding can look as they grow. Read More
Recent studies have shown that parents are spending more time with their kids now than they did half a century ago—a lot more.
This is cause for celebration in my book, but I must admit that it leaves me with a bit of a nagging question.
What is that time really like? Read More
My son recently got it into his head that he HAD to try ice-skating. So, over the holidays we took him to one of the seasonal rinks set up around the city at this time of year for San Francisco kids who otherwise might never see a real ice-covered anything.
The rink was, as my Irish friends say, chock-a-block with kids and adults of all ages. I’d say the average skill level was Dangerously Unsteady, with a couple of Just-Starting-To-Get-It folks thrown in the mix. One very thrilled, Approaching-Intermediate-Level Dad was zooming around the rink, narrowly missing taking out an unsuspecting skater with each lap.
I took one look at this scene and immediately went into Professor Mom mode. We got my son’s skates on, and I started coaching him on how to walk over to the rink without breaking his ankle. We secured one of those skater-assistance devices that’s a bit like a walker on blades, and bravely hobbled onto the ice. Read More