How Play Helps Children Cooperate

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.

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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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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 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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4 Ways to Meet Your Child's Resistance

I happen to know that my child is not the only one who resists the normal, everyday aspects of his existence with a kind of endurance that would be admirable were it not so darn aggravating.

Here are a few tips for managing your child’s resistance respectfully, and with an eye toward deepening her sense of connection (which—you guessed it—also can help lessen the resistance). All of these tools work well with babies, toddlers, and older children as well.

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What is Respectful Parenting (or RIE®), Anyway?

You may have heard about the Educaring® Approach, or RIE®—sometimes called “respectful parenting”—on the playground or from a friend who is a parent. But what is RIE® really all about? Is it right for your family?

Magda Gerber, who founded RIE®—which stands for Resources for Infant Educarers—believed that babies are whole, capable people deserving of our respect from the moment they are born.

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