How to Get Your Kid to Play Without You (and Why You Should)

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.

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From Play Yards to Yes Spaces: Creating a Safe Play Space for Your Child

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.

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Get Ready for Your Baby the Respectful Parenting Way

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.

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Want a Self-Confident Kid? Try This.

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.

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What True Quality Time With Your Child Feels Like

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? 

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What if You Stopped Teaching Your Child?

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.

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Help Your Child Sleep Better With Bedtime Rituals

Ahhhhh, sleep.

It’s one of the first things people ask new parents about, and the focus and source of a lot of our time, energy, and stress during the first years of our kids’ lives.

I recently visited with close friends and their week-old baby. One of the first things Dad said to me was, “wow, the sleep deprivation finally caught up with us. We were fine for a few days and then…” he trailed off. Then: “This is hard.”

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What to Do With a Baby

“What do I. . . DO with her all day?”

 A slightly baffled mom asked this question about her newborn baby in a RIE® parent-infant class. We all laughed—including her—but I also knew part of her was very serious.

No parenting class had prepared her for this part of being a mom. After the diapers, feeding, bathing, dressing… what was she supposed to do with the kid?

If you’ve ever wondered this about your baby, you’re not alone.

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How to Weather Big Transitions

My son starts at a brand-new school tomorrow. At 4.5, he’s starting preschool later than a bunch of his peers, but it was the right decision for our family to keep him in his sweet, small daycare for an extra year.

These kinds of transitions are part of parenting for all of us, whether it’s a move to a new school, a new home, or to becoming a sibling instead of an only child. Here are a few tips for weathering these kinds transitions with respect for your child’s process and your own.

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More Than Words

The Educaring® Approach offers many wonderful practices for communicating with infants and toddlers, but we sometimes forget to talk about what we're saying when we're not using words. Learning to respond to our children respectfully starts with attunement

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