elevating child care

Mealtimes and Breastfeeding

The Breastfeeding Challenge

“Take the telephone off the hook before you intend to feed, bathe or diaper your baby, and tell your infant, ‘I’m going to take the phone off the hook so nobody will disturb us, because now I really want to be just with you.’ (When you say it, you reinforce yourself.) ‘Unbusy’ your head and ‘unbusy’ your body. Be fully there, interested only in your baby for that time. I...

Eating Isn’t Ours to Control – How One Parent Replaced Fear with Trust

Worrying is a by-product of parenting, and our children’s eating habits are a common focus of concern. Are our kids eating enough? And are they eating the right things? Problems occur when our highly aware young children sense our concerns, because they can be compelled to test and exploit them. Kids always seem to know when they have us over a barrel (or, in this case, a bowl), and the uncomfortable yet...

When Toddlers Throw Food (and Other Mealtime Mischief)

I’ve noticed that when parents ask me what to do about their toddler throwing food or dumping water, there’s usually a key respectful care practice they’re missing: pay attention. Child specialist Magda Gerber encouraged parents to give infants and toddlers our focused attention at mealtimes whenever possible, beginning with breast or bottle feedings. As a parent and a parent-child class facilitator, over the...

7 Happiness Tools We Can Give Our Children

Our second daughter started college last fall. She’s an old soul who’s always strummed to her own beat, so it wasn’t surprising that she’d found high school restrictive and uninspiring, both academically and socially. But, as we’d hoped, college has been a different story. She’s thriving in the freer, more diverse atmosphere, more fulfilled and content than she’s been in years. Recently, while...

How to Talk to Your Newborn

Just do it. Talk to your newborn, even your preemie, especially your preemie in the NICU. Speak to her authentically, honestly, slowly, and in simple language about the real things happening to her and in her immediate world. Respectfully inform her a bit in advance about events, changes (like being picked up or placed down), and uncomfortable or new experiences. Acknowledge the sights and sounds in her...

Secrets to Enjoying Healthy Meals With Our Children (Guest Post by Helene Skantzikas)

I am often asked what “tricks” I have to get my toddler to eat well, or how I cope with food rejection and other issues at the table. I guess you could say I have a mantra, words our family lives eats by: Trust, Respect, Model, Accept, Slow Down and Enjoy. Probably because of my family and cultural background (French), I was confident in my approach to food, and introducing it to my son felt natural. As I...

They’ll Grow Into It – Trusting Children to Develop Manners, Toilet Skills, Emotional Regulation and More

Most of the advice I share is focused on infants, toddlers and preschoolers, but since my own children are now well past those years (my oldest just turned 21!), it occurred to me that I should be sharing more often from my “long view” perspective.   Like most parents, I’ve had my worries. For instance, despite my commitment to natural motor development, I worried that my first baby would never learn to walk....

RIE Parenting Basics (9 Ways to Put Respect into Action)

In recent weeks, several readers have asked me to write a post they can share with family and friends to explain Magda Gerber’s RIE basics. Admittedly, ‘simple’ and ‘succinct’ aren’t my specialty, evidenced by the hundreds of 1000+ word blog posts I’ve written, all conceived to be under 700 words. With that caveat, I will give it a try. (Feel free to skip to the bullet points at any time.) RIE...

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