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 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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The Best Gifts You Can Give to Your Child This Holiday Season

It’s upon us: the holiday season! Thanksgiving is around the corner for those of us in the U.S., followed by the winter holidays, which usually means one thing for many of us: time with family.

Before we have kids, this time of year can feel like a lot, even if we have healthy and uncomplicated relationships with our family (ha!).

But when we add kids to the mix, the things we weather during this time of year—travel, delays, long meals, family dynamics, big feelings of all kinds, and increased stress due to all of this—can make us want to put a pillow over our heads until January 2nd.

While we can’t necessarily change our complicated family dynamics or remove all the stress from the holidays, there are a few things we can do as parents to make this time of year easier on all of us, especially our littlest members.

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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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The Four Keys to Limit Setting

In a recent post about limit setting, I argued that, for our passionate little movers, limits are like the railings on a beautiful yet precarious dance floor.  We need them to provide safety and security as our kids explore the world and their place in it.

In this post I want to explore in greater detail how limit setting can look, through the lens of a beautiful path for living and relating to others called The Four-Fold Way®.

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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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