elevating child care

5 Ways to Make the Early Days with Babies More Peaceful, Joyful and Magical

As the saying goes, “Hindsight is 20/20,” and that is certainly true for me as I recall life as a brand new parent. I adored my baby girl but was lost as to how to spend the day with her beyond what seemed obvious: breastfeeding, snuggling, making sure she had a clean diaper, keeping her from crying, and doing my best(!) to help her get to sleep. There were flashes of joy in the chaos (and a whole of lot of...

What Children Know (And Might Hurt Them)

“Children both know more and learn more than we ever would have thought,” notes psychologist and infant brain researcher Alison Gopnik in her Ted Talk entitled “What Do Babies Think?” She goes on to point out that hundreds and hundreds of studies (along with her own) over the past 20 years support her statement. Pediatrician Emmi Pikler and her protégé Magda Gerber saw proof of infant awareness more than...

Help, My Toddler Can’t Play Without Me!

“The inability to play independently inevitably increases the child’s sense of dependence on the adult. Conversely, independent activity allows him to experience autonomy.”  – Éva Kálló and Györgyi Balog, The Origins of Free Play I often hear from parents concerned about their child’s inability to play alone. They perceive their child as either extra-needy, too “attached” or too social, or just...

When Parents Invade Childhood (A Lesson in Distrust)

Trust is essential to raising capable, happy, self-confident children. Belief in our children’s competence is vital to their sense of self-worth and can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. And yet, trusting kids to handle even the most benign, age-appropriate situations is sometimes difficult for parents.  What are we so afraid of? This is the question that came up for me when Karen shared this discouraging...

7 Benefits of RIE Parenting

“I have relaxed so much as a mother and as a wife. I can enjoy my kids without having to live up to anyone else’s standards. I have learned how to actively listen. To do less. And observe more. I’m happy. I’m proud of being a mother. I love learning and can admit when I have more things to learn.” – Tracy  The beauty of Magda Gerber’s Educaring Approach (commonly known as RIE) is that the...

How Respect Makes Parenting Easier

Every so often I receive a critical comment along the lines of this one: “…reading things such as ‘I asked my baby if she wanted me to lift her up and with the slightest nod of yes, I did’ (not exact quote) — when talking about a month-old baby — makes me want to laugh. It is true that babies, infants and toddlers should be treated with respect, and I adhere to the notion of the calm...

Your Presence is Enough

Young children can make us feel insanely popular. Their relentless requests for our attention begin at birth, and we remain in high demand throughout the toddler, preschool, early grade school years. Our ranking on the Popularity Scale then takes a sharp dive during adolescence, and it tanks miserably in high school. By college we’re lucky if they take our calls. (Ouch. That one hits too close to home.) Meeting...

Play Space Inspiration

Observing our children’s self-directed play helps us to understand them, become more empathetic and attuned, and it is the key to finding more joy in day-to-day parenting. These benefits (and more) are the reason I’ve shared so many play-inspired posts and videos. Most have focused on the parent’s role in nurturing child-directed play and the invaluable learning that happens when we do. I’ve shared specific...

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