Babies need you to be slow.

April 15, 2015

Excerpt from


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.  


Noelle Salmi is a freelance writer and mother of three in San Francisco.


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When you hold an infant, hold him not just with your body, but with your mind and heart.  --Magda Gerber