"On a Tuesday morning in a light-filled room in the Redwood Shores Public Library, seven babies and their mothers are seated around a large woven cloth rug."
Enjoy your child's unfolding development
an optimum home environment for your child's development without expensive toys or gadgets.
your baby to be a self-initiator and a self-learner.
“Moving slowly creates a sense of peacefulness for the adult and the child. For a young baby to be moving at an adult’s pace is jarring,” says Solomon. If you are going to pick up your baby to, say, change a diaper, “Tell your child what you’re going to do. Then wait. We want to give the baby time to process what’s been said.”
This may seem like commonsense advice, but it’s not what we’re often taught in our competitive, fast-paced society, says Fernandez, the director of the Redwood City class, who ran RIE-based childcare services for the U.S. Army for several years.
“It’s really hard for parents to slow down. Babies need you to be slow. Parents in our area are go, go, go, always multi-tasking. Babies need you for at least part of your time to be quiet and focused,” says Fernandez.
Fernandez notes another tenet of the RIE approach: babies don’t require complicated toys with bells and whistles. With noisy, electronic playthings, babies become passive and are merely entertained (until they get over-stimulated), but they don’t engage with such toys.
“We need baby-activated toys, not battery-activated toys,” says Fernandez. That’s why all you’ll find in her class are cups and balls of different colors, shapes and textures.
RIE’s uncomplicated approach resonated with Redwood City mother Harmony Younes. When her baby Noor was born, she felt bombarded with messages about parenting that didn’t fit her own values. “There’s so much stuff the media and others say you need. It can be overwhelming.”
When she learned of RIE parenting, she was drawn to its simplicity. “It’s nice to step back and really focus on respecting your baby. You can keep it simple,” says Younes. She has taken time to slow down and observe Noor, who’s now six months old, noticing that Noor prefers to take in new situations carefully before taking action.
“Observing her through RIE has helped me identify those aspects of her personality,” says Younes. She says the RIE class also made her feel more comfortable giving Noor independent playtime each day. “She’s developed a capacity to entertain herself. She enjoys it,” says Younes.
Caregivers and parents all agree that RIE allows them to step back and worry less. Solomon says parents can relax and let go, feeling confident to let their baby explore. “It’s the antidote to helicopter parenting,” she says.
Discover Your Baby!
A RIE® Parent Infant Guidance Class using the RESOURCES FOR INFANT EDUCARERS™
approach to parenting and child development. This class offers individual attention to both parent
and child in a safe and challenging play space.