Monday, November 24, 2008

Why it's ok that Mr. Mischief hasn't peed in the toilet yet =)

Article Location:,19840,648214,00.html
From BabyTalk magazine
Raising a Confident Child
By Michelle Bowers
While many mothers frantically shuttle their babies from music class to mommy-and-me, the
parenting motto championed by Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE), a nonprofit organization
headquartered in Los Angeles, is an unexpected one: Do less. The group advocates slowing
down, attentively observing your child, and doing things on his schedule.
Based on a caregiving approach brought to the U.S. by Hungarian infant-development expert
Magda Gerber in 1973, the philosophy — which focuses on respecting the needs of the individual
child — has a devoted following of parents, including Jason Alexander, Jamie Lee Curtis, and
Jerry Seinfeld. "We don't set goals. We believe that infants are self-motivated," says Eileen
O'Sullivan, a member of RIE's board of directors.
While this isn't exactly a new concept in infant development, the group has created a program to
put this way of thinking into action for children 6 weeks to 2 years of age. "We want to help
babies have a strong sense of self. The payoff is children who are resourceful, confident, and
independent," says O'Sullivan. "They understand that they're valuable and worthy of our
attention." Here's how to "respect" your child, according to the RIE philosophy.
• Allow your baby to participate in childcare. Tell your child what you'll do before you do it.
Informing him about what will happen next — like a diaper change — can help him feel more
secure and lead to two-way communication down the road, says O'Sullivan.
• Honor what he can do physically. The group suggests not putting a baby into a position he
can't get into himself, such as propping him up with pillows in a sitting position. Healthy babies
will invariably reach these developmental milestones, argues RIE, and rushing the process may
frustrate them and even lead them to feel disappointed in themselves.
• Sit and observe. To see your child for who he is and witness small development changes as
they occur, RIE advocates that parents watch their child play, without distractions or planned
activities, ideally for at least 15 minutes three times a day. Occasionally, the parent should
comment nonjudgmentally about the child's activity — "sportscasting" in the RIE lingo.
• Follow your baby's lead. During playtime, let him choose a toy or a new place to explore. That
means making your home baby-safe is critical, so your child can have more freedom to wander.
In the spirit of doing less, RIE asserts that a child who is frustrated by, say, a ball that has rolled
under a chair shouldn't be helped immediately. Finding his own solutions can make for a more
valuable lesson.
• Turn off the television. Playing without the distraction of the TV lets your child decide what
interests him and may even help him develop concentration. For more information about RIE,

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