The Parenting Magic Word (10 Ways To Use It)

Magda Gerber extolled the power of a single word that is fundamental to her child care philosophy. This word reflects a core belief in our babies’ natural abilities, respects their unique developmental timetable, fulfills their need to experience mastery, be a creative problem solver and to express feelings (even those that are hard for us to witness). The word is a simple, practical tool for understanding babies, providing love, attention and trust for humans of all ages.

The word is wait. And here’s how it works…

1. Wait for development of an infant or toddler’s motor skills, toilet learning, language and other preschool learning skills. Notice children’s satisfaction, comfort and self-pride when they are able to show you what they are ready to do, rather than the other way around. As Magda Gerber often said, “readiness is when they do it.” Ready babies do it better (Hmmm… a bumper sticker?), and they own their achievement completely, relish it, and build self-confidence to last a lifetime.

2. Wait before interrupting and give babies the opportunity to continue what they are doing, learn more about what interests them, develop longer attention spans and become independent self-learners. When we wait while a newborn gazes at the ceiling and allow him or her to continue their train of thought, they are encouraged not only to keep thinking, but to keep trusting their instincts. Refraining from interrupting whenever possible gives our children the message that we value their chosen activities (and therefore them).

3. Wait for problem solving and allow a child the resilience-building struggle and frustration that usually precedes accomplishment. Wait to see first what a child is capable of doing on his or her own.

When a baby is struggling to roll from back to tummy, try comforting with gentle words of encouragement before intervening and interrupting their process. Then if frustration mounts, pick them up and give them a break rather than turning them over and ‘fixing’ them. This encourages our babies to try, try again and eventually succeed, rather than believe themselves incapable and expect others to do it for them. This holds true for the development of motor skills, struggles with toys, puzzles and equipment, even self-soothing abilities like finding their thumb rather than giving them a pacifier.

(For more examples of the value of waiting for children to solve problems, please read A Jar Not Opened and A The Powerful Gift of “I Did It”.)

4. Wait for discovery rather than showing a child her new toy and how it works. When you teach a child something, you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself. –Jean Piaget

5. Wait and observe to see what the child is really doing before jumping to conclusions. A baby reaching towards a toy might be satisfied to be stretching his or her arm and fingers, not expecting to accomplish a task. A toddler looking through a sliding glass door might be practicing standing or enjoying the view and not necessarily eager to go outside.

6. Wait for conflict resolution and give babies the opportunity to solve problems with their peers, which they usually do quite readily if we can remain calm and patient. And what may look like conflict to an adult is often just “playing together” through an infant or toddler’s eyes.

7. Wait for readiness before introducing new activities and children can be active participants, embrace experiences more eagerly and confidently, comprehend and learn far more. It’s hard to wait to share our own exciting childhood experiences (like shows, theme parks or dance classes) with our children, but sooner is almost never better, and our patience always pays off. (I explain this in much more detail in Toddler Readiness – The Beauty of Waiting and Please Don’t Take The Babies.)

8.  Wait for a better understanding of what babies need when they cry. When we follow the impulse most of us have to quell our children’s tears as quickly as possible, we can end up projecting and assuming needs rather than truly understanding what our child is communicating. This is the basis of my argument in Attachment Parenting Debate – For Crying Out Loud and the realization shared by a parent in A Toddler’s Need To Cry (One Parent’s Lesson).

9. Wait for feelings to be expressed so that our children can fully process them. Our child’s cries can stir up our own deeply suppressed emotions; make us impatient, annoyed, uneasy, and even angry or fearful. But children need our non-judgmental acceptance of their feelings and our encouragement to allow them to run their course.

10. Wait for ideas from children before offering suggestions of our own. This encourages them to be patient thinkers and brainstormers. Countless times I’ve experienced the miracle of waiting before giving my brilliant two cents while children play, or providing play ideas when children seem bored. Biting my tongue for a few minutes, maybe saying some encouraging words to a toddler like, “It’s hard to know what to do sometimes, but you are creative, I know you’ll think of something” is usually all that it takes for the child to come up with an idea. And it’s bound to be more imaginative, interesting and appropriate than anything I could have thought of. Best of all, the child receives spectacular affirmations: 1) I am a creative thinker and problem solver; 2) I can bear discomfort, struggle and frustration; 3) Boredom is just the time and space between ideas… (And sometimes, the wellspring of genius.)

Instincts may tell us that waiting is uncaring, unhelpful and confidence-shaking — until the results are proven to us. Sitting back patiently and observing often feels counterintuitive, so even if we know and appreciate the magic that can happen when we “wait”, it usually involves a conscious effort. But it’s worth it.

Do you find it challenging to wait? Do you have a magic word of your own? No need to wait to share your thoughts…

(I share more in my book: Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting)


Please share your comments and questions. I read them all and respond to as many as time will allow.

  1. I’m in love with this post. Wait. Just wait. Don’t jump to fix something that isn’t broken. Just wait and see. Children take a bit longer than the rushing hustle bustle of adult life.

    Sharing this!

    1. Thanks, Anthony! I love your reminder: Children take a bit longer than the rushing hustle bustle of adult life. You gave me an idea that I probably would have thought to include if I had waited a little longer before posting this… Another thing to wait for is children struggling with clothes — getting dressed and undressed. It takes them a bit longer (sometimes a lot longer), but what’s the hurry? It’s so validating for a toddler to be able to take her shoes and socks off or put them on again, but it requires our patience. We just have to remember to stop the hustle bustle and wait.

      1. Not all families are well off enough to avoid the hustle and bustle of two parents working. For many families, everyone often IS in a hurry. Even so, it’s great to attempt to slow things down on the weekend or evenings.
        I am a grandma, and I love these ideas, AND how do we help parents who live with the daily financial stressors of modern life? I used to teach parenting classes to these kinds of folks. There is part of the new parenting ideas that seems aimed at completely functional fairly well-off families.

        1. Ditto re rushing and clothes, too!

          Gayle may I disagree – and I say this coming from my own experience: I am not well off at all, i work full time, and have less than full time childcare, and a demanding jobm and i am a single parent as well, and our grandparents live abroad, so its nowhere near a “completely functional fairly well-off families”. and yes, life is busy and yes i often feel that in order to make it through the day, everything needs to tick like a clock otherwise we slinde into chaos- but the best lesson i could have taught myself – and i still do – is changing the perspective on what *needs* to be done, what *needs* to tick, and what is chaos..

          there ARE ways to slow down and allow the child to do it at their own pace, even when the two parents are working. if its the getting dressed part – one can simply allow more time for it,to allow the child to dress by themselves, by dressing at the same time (not get dressed first, dress the child up next, and then out of the door). Or by reshuffling the morning schedule. Or by starting the morning 15 mins earlier. Or by chanig some of the priorities.

          Also, when oriented towards waiting and changing the pace, we might see how some of what we do supposedly *for* thchi8ld is unnecesary oversheduled (for example, too many planned, timed baby/toddler activities and classes- drop some of them and stare at the spider crawling instead!)

        2. I’m sorry, but I disagree that RIE has anything to do with wealth. Both my partner and I work, we have no close family to rely on (we live abroad) and are not well off. All it takes to create time and space is to be a bit more organised. I get up extra early in the morning to get ready before our daughter wakes up and get food etc. sorted for the next day in the evening when she is asleep. Doesn’t cost me anything, just hard work, planning and patience

    2. Syed Abul Farah says:

      Wait is not a positive word. This could be, see what the child do, see where going. OR child can do, child can help

      1. I’m not sure why you think wait isn’t a positive word. I think it’s very positive. It’s not saying not to do something, it’s saying to do something… to give more of something (time), rather than to take away or give less. It’s not saying not to do something. Just to wait, to pause, and that is where the magic happens.

  2. This is a fabulous post. Hmm. Do I say that every time I comment? Probably. LOL! But really – in our hectic, over-scheduled, rushed world, this is really what parents need to learn. I find it really hard to wait – especially when my kids are fighting with each other. My discomfort with it is so multi-faceted that it takes all of my strength to sit back & let them work it out themselves. Thank you again for the reminder & the great list of ways to be more patient and wait. Wait. I love it.
    ~ Gina

    1. Gina, thank you. If you do say that every time, I assure you I never get tired of hearing it! 😉 It does take all of our strength to wait sometimes, especially with peer conflicts. Do you notice that they behave more kindly to each other when you aren’t around? Just wondering how it works with twins, because that has certainly been my experience with siblings.

  3. Yep, you nailed it, Janet.

    I had problems waiting when rearing my own child, I know… most time-poor mums do… and certainly it was hard to learn the skill when I first started teaching and caring for under-5s. The realisation that jumping in to help is about US, not about helping the child, is hard-won but valuable.

    1. Wow, Annie, you are so wise and insightful. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I was having a lot of trouble waiting for my daughter to reach developmental milestones. Then, after reading many of your posts, I made a decision that waiting was going to be my gift to her. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprising) she began to have more success when I just let her be…Thank you for teaching me the importance of waiting.

  5. This is a wonderful article, thanks so much Janet! We are just beginning to implement RIE philosophy in our home and I have to say I have caught myself ‘messing up’, as it were, a few times. Like just yesterday, I found myself showing my 9 month old how to use a particular toy without even thinking… How I kicked myself, haha! I suppose it’s a learning process for us, too, and breaking the habits of a lifetime is not easy. But we will keep trying 🙂 Over the past few weeks, since we stopped using empty praise with our oldest (3yo), I have noticed a marked difference in his desire to do things for himself and his confidence in his own ability. It’s been incredible!

  6. One Facebook sharer encouraged us to guess what we thought the word was before reading the article. I guessed it was “yes.” This article is AMAZING and I have already printed and posted it on the wall! THANK YOU!

  7. I think the hardest wait for parents is the wait while their child figures out how to navigate danger. I.E. my 16 month old dancing on the table doesn’t necessarily need rescuing. When I wait for her to figure it out, she gets down on her belly and puts her feet down on a chair and slides down safely.
    Now she is safe, much safer than if I took her down myself.

  8. Well, I couldn’t ‘wait’ to reply to your post and say Thank You. So many of your examples of the Why of Waiting can be applied to any age group 🙂 It is a joy to witness as children discover, explore and resolve within their own time. Cheers.

  9. Another good one, Janet. I have another great word–that has a thousand uses: “Oh.”
    as in: “Johnny is picking on me.”
    “The teacher doesn’t like me.”
    “I don’t understand the homework.”
    It takes a little practice sometimes to get the inflection right, but has a myriad of uses, and it is a great antidote for taking too much responsibility for your child’s challenges.

    1. Rick, that’s a great one — made me smile. “Oh” is saying you’re listening and empathetic, but not jumping in to fix things. Being heard and understood all we usually want anyway, right?

    2. Good one, Rick!

      I like to use the empathetic question that invites more information- eg

      ‘Johnny’s picking on me.’
      ‘Is he?’

      ‘I want a turn.’
      ‘Do you?’

      And if the child doesn’t volunteer a course of action, I follow up with ‘What are you going to do about it?’

      Works wonders- I hardly EVER have to ‘rescue’ a child with this approach.

      1. Rick and Annie – I love it! Mine is “I see.”

        “Johnny’s picking on me.”
        “I see.”

        “I want a turn.”
        “I see.”

        I follow up with a “What’s your plan?” to get their wheels turning.

        1. Katharine says:

          Ha! Mine is, “I see,” as well.

          1. Flop’s (as in Bing Bunny) word in these situations is: “Indeed”.

  10. This is my first time visiting your page. I love this article! Love it! Love it! Love it! I’m not very good at waiting a lot of the time, but I am trying to get better at it. This is such motivation for me.

  11. Ditto on the wonderful post comment, Janet.
    I very much value waiting in my own process, BUT didn’t see how it could apply to parenting until coming across RIE, Magda’s insightful words and philosophy. Waiting is like the silent space between breaths where an infinite amount of potential and possibilities lie.

    Thank you for inspiring my day!

  12. Nice ideas. I like Magda Gerber’s philosophy. However I don’t agree with ‘ready to toilet train’. We practice elimination communication. Our boys were ready to signal their need to go from early on. At times they did not want help to go and we had lots of wet pants/nappies and that was ok. I don’t agree with leaving a baby in a nappy and ‘waiting’ until they are ready to toilet train. Otherwise Magda Gerber rocks!

    1. I am not familiar with Magda Gerber but I agree with Ants on elimination communication. No one should not have to “wait” in their own waste, certainly not babies.

  13. This post was helpful to me in understanding the special nuances of negotiating the space between our role as parents as nurturers and protectors and our children\’s ever expanding need for autonomy and self-mastery.

    I especially liked #8 about being cautious about letting your own stuff (emotional triggers from your past) keep you from derailing your baby\’s unfolding development. Now that is a biggie for me. How do you keep your emotional past from hi-jacking the moment?

  14. Thank you for your post, especially #1. My son is over 3 and a half (44 months) and still in diapers. My daughter is 25 months and has learned how to use the toilet (she was ready). He is not bothered by this and I never point it out to him, but I am so ready to no longer change diapers. I remind myself that when he is ready he will tell me, but your post reminded me that it is a developmental milestone and he will do it on his timetable and that is best. Thank you.

  15. Love this post….I’m 6 years into parenting and my best parenting moments are preceded by waiting. Pausing. It’s good for everyone, for all the reasons you described. Thanks for the beautiful reminder.

  16. Alexandra Blaker says:

    Hi Janet-

    This is a great article. I’d like to share a small story with you, to reiterate the point:
    I recently had a lovely moment, after remembering to wait, while giving my daughter a bath. She is now two, and a graduate of the infant class (!) and recently started preschool. She had been playing in her tub for a few minutes. We were both calm and had plenty of time for the bath. At one point during her play she started singing the “clean up song” that they use to motivate the children. While singing she started to put all of her play-objects back into the large basket where we store them. In the past I might have taken that as a cue to end the bath time. This time I decided to just WAIT an extra minute to see what she would do. She did not let me know she wanted to get out, instead she took back out a few select things and started a new activity. She continued with her water play, and then we had a very smooth transition for her to go to sleep. It was such a beautiful moment, rich with imagination, self-motivation and self-regulation and quite satisfying I think for both of us. And if I had just pushed ahead, the moment would have been lost.

    Thanks for the eloquent reminders of Magda Gerber’s wisdome.

  17. I love this post. It really resonates with me and how I do want to parent vs. how I have been parenting. This post gives me a little confidence to not rush to problem solve things for my children. I have twins so there are many differences in how to respond but I can always WAIT.

  18. My magic word is respect; respect the child. The child knows what is needed.

  19. I love this article… I could probably say this to all of them! My only question would be… how does this philosophy work with children who do indeed have actual developmental delays and/or medical issues that can cause them to struggle in areas of motor planning, muscle weakness, etc? What if your child really wants to do what you are doing and is trying to imitate you? Why would it be wrong to show him how you are doing it? For instance my son loves to practice unlocking and relocking ziplock type bags. He spent an entire hour doing this and kept wanting me to “help” show him how, grabbing my hands, to help hold the bag. Muscle weakness is an issue for him, so this was challenging for him. Should I have refused? He practiced and practiced this way until he could do it on his own, and still works on it now. He is truly amazing with an incredible attention span until he accomplishes things, but often asks for help on tasks that are hard for him. Since he does have some challenges I think it’s great that he seems to know where he might need some help and asks vs. getting so frustrated that he throw things around the room (like he did in the past)… What are your thoughts on this? Also, I find at times, he can do things, but doesn’t realize it and will keep asking for help… and get very frustrated if we don’t help him… how to wean him off that and help him find that balance? I think these concepts are great, but there is a balance when it comes to any child, and even more when children have significant medical and/or developmental challenges.

    1. Hi Deb! I would always say YES to a request for help, but the way you help matters a great deal. The key is to do as little as possible. Parents tend to do too much, which then leads to the child believing he is less capable (and more helpless) than he is. So this is what happens: “Also, I find at times, he can do things, but doesn’t realize it and will keep asking for help… and get very frustrated if we don’t help him… ”

      Let’s use your ziplock bag example… Ideally, the very first time he tried this, you didn’t do it for him. If he was struggling to open the bag and asked for help, you could have first come close and said, “Oh, are you trying to open that?” (Sometimes this kind of attention and “moral support” is enough to help the child.) So, you reflect the situation and wait a moment (while maintaining a calm attitude — you are not invested in him achieving the goal of opening the bag.)

      Then, let’s say he asks again, “Mommy, help.” You reply, “That’s hard to do, isn’t it? Hmmm… Here, I can hold this side for you.” Then, with his focus on opening it from one side while you are holding the other, he may be able to open the bag. If not, you might direct him verbally. “Oh, this is so tricky, isn’t it? Here, you pull really hard on that side, while I’m pulling on this side.” So, the idea is to let him achieve this as much as possible, but even MORE IMPORTANT is your demeanor and attitude. Since we adults tend to be more goal oriented, we can easily give children the message that the challenges they choose must be finished…and we emphasize this even more when we step in to make sure they finish it. If this matters to us, it begins to matter to our children…but this is not a helpful message for them…

      “How to wean him off that and help him find that balance?” Here’s where I have to put my thinking cap on, because my RIE training has been much more about establishing productive habits from the beginning than about weaning children off our interventions. 🙂

      Honesty is our best policy. So, if he wants you to open the bag for him (even when you know he can do it), I would acknowledge, “Oh, I know I sometimes do that for you…but I’m going to let you try it. I’d be glad to help out” (and then help minimally). Don’t be afraid of his feelings of frustration…just acknowledge and support them. “You are so darn upset about that bag not opening…and me not doing it for you. That’s really frustrating! I’m here if you want a hug.” Toddlers often have intense feelings simmering inside, so emotional explosions are a healthy release…and they are seldom just about the incident that provokes them. Feel good about your boy expressing feelings!

  20. My comment is the same as Deb above! My son has language and social delays. He’s almost 3 and still on single words and doesn’t always use them, does very little imaginary play and doesn’t really like socialising with other children (even ones we know very well). I’ve been very stand offish with the language as I know my brothers were very late talkers. But I’m now starting to think there may be something deeper going on. How do you know when to wait more and when to intervene?

    1. Penny, trust your instincts… If you are noticing delays, especially if they are in more than one area, I would advise having your boy assessed by a professional.

      1. Thanks for this advice! I work with kids with special needs and want to echo your advice to trust your instincts. There is a balance to waiting (especially if there appear to be delays); it’s important to take advantage of developmental “windows” for most effective treatment!

  21. Janet, very useful!

    You bring up a simple and really powerful way of relating that encourages independence, use of language (asking), developing self-help skills (buttoning, tying shoe laces, getting help when needed, and the intrinsic value of accomplishment. Thanks for posting it.

  22. I thoroughly enjoyed and agree with your statements. Especially about development. Too often parents want to speed up the process. Patience and their own discovery are the keys to cognitive development.

  23. Great point Janet. Even when our kids are teens, sometimes they just need more time to figure it out. I think people often believe something is “wrong” with kids when they don’t act like adults. But often they just need some time, space and a quiet, patient parent near by.

  24. Another concept that has become an important part of my work with students, parents, and children is “tarry time” – which I define as the amount of silence between interactions. While I was taking an infant development class with Magda Gerber in 1979, that concept deepened. As I was sitting on the lawn in a semi-circle of students, quietly observing an infant, the infant looked at us and then fingered the flowered design on her blanket. Rolling over, she suddenly found herself lying on the grass and, except where her diapers covered her, the grass was touching her skin. It took her at least 20 seconds to respond, which she did by crying. Later a fly landed on her leg, we heard a street noise, and the infant’s mother talked to her. In each case, you could plainly see that she required at least several seconds to respond. If you look in the dictionary you’ll see that “to tarry” is to wait until another catches up. What I began to observe, starting with that class, is that adults tend to tarry less when dealing with infants than they do with older children or with other adults. The amount of time we are willing to wait for a reply, the time we are willing to tarry, is an indication of our level of respect for individuals. By increasing our tarry time, we show infants our respect. One of my parents said it even better: “Simply put, that sense of hurry and rush so prevalent in our lives today is consciously and consistently put on a shelf when interacting with our children. As you might imagine, this alone makes such an incredible difference in our ability to literally have the presence of mind to tune into our infants’ messages.”

    1. Diana, thank you so much for this detailed explanation of the importance of “tarry time”… I love it! I perceive the tendency we have to give infants less tarry time as reflective of our doubt in their ability to understand us.. In other words, since babies can’t really talk back, there is always that sense that we might just be going through the motions when we speak to them. But when we do give babies the time they need and we are open, they demonstrate time and again that they DO understand.

  25. What a wonderful parenting tip…and so simple. My goal for tomorrow will be to practice waiting and giving my toddler time to figure things out for himself. I especially liked that Piaget quote about forever taking away the opportunity to discover. What a powerful statement.

  26. I love your article! I wish I would read it 9 years ago. As my behavior aways was absolutely opposite, may be not always but… And still Im looking at myself and wonder why Im the one who always tell what to do, help, and try to live my child life by putting pillows everywhere.

  27. I must be a misfit for this site, because even though my kids loved their Montessori preschool, and though I agree with the content of many of the books cited on this webpage, I got impatient just reading these posts responding to Wait! Something which I say often, which my kids (now 10 & 11) have loved to mimic since they were little is, “Chop, chop! The king, the king!” Seriously, in retrospect, knowing myself, there is just no way I could have ever waited for my toddlers to dress themselves, potty train themselves, or whatever . . . and yet somehow they managed to figure it out, and are happy, bright and well adjusted. Not criticizing, just saying there may be more than one way to skin a cat 🙂

  28. Ron Peña says:

    Dear Janet, I would have to come back to this post over and over again. If only I can print this in font 200 and post it as my wall paper for everyone to read. Kidding aside, I have to thank you for this. Waiting is hard. So much so the kind that is active (actively or concious waiting as opposed to the passive kind.) Waiting with a very silent anticipation may be exhausting for parents but I find it better for our children’s sake. I have to re-read this to fully digest it. For now, I couldn’t thank you enough.

  29. Trust. Similar to wait, but just trust that they will show me what the need and how much and when. And trust in their abilities. And trust that mistakes are ok, that my parenting is ok, that my kids will be ok.

  30. This so important as we rush through to get everything organized for the “rat race” called life. I learnt from my older child who is 13 and seem to be growing up wayyyyy to soon!. I often take a break and just watch my 23 month old learn, laugh. cry and squeal with delight when she masters something with, “mommy I did it!!”. The dishes, laundry, cooking etc can wait! housework never ends anyway! my OCD tendencies can eat it’s heart out!! 🙂

  31. I love your blog. I have always claimed babies are whole persons and so I was doing these things (wait, explain) with our son from birth, from my own instinct. “Wait” is my word! I’m happy to have found a place where there’s more info on this kind of parenting! 🙂
    Thank you!

  32. Thanks for this! I really needed it today. I don’t want to spend time worrying about a milestone when I could just be enjoying where we are at together. Love all your posts! Thanks for taking the time to share your ideas!!

  33. As a former teacher, I like what you are suggesting, Janet, especially as I recall the parents who constantly reached in to fix, change, correct and complete projects for their children. But I believe there is an important caveat that inexperienced parents must keep in mind: remember that you are in the world, and your child will need to navigate the world, not just when he or she feels ready, but when he or she is actually in it.

    There is the learning environment of home, preschool, or daycare, and then there is the world we share with the community around us. Daily, I encounter parents who disrupt the world of other adults to give their toddler the time and space to do whatever they prefer: take one step at a time at their own pace up a rush-hour subway staircase; let a full-blown temper tantrum run its complete course on the floor of a grocery store aisle; disrupt the nice dinner out or movie that the adults next to them planned, and may even have hired a babysitter of their own, so that they could have some, often expensive, adult time together.

    Our children need all the waiting time, encouragement, and personal attention we can give them in the safe, one-on-one environments that we provide for them. But when they are out in the world, they need to learn that they share that world with other people, and as good community memembers, we have to think of other people’s needs as well much as our own. If they are too young to learn that lesson, then we as parents need to be the good citizens: choose our children’s environment wisely, move them to a safer location to grow, play, or cry it out, and wait to introduce them to the world they will need to navigate and share with others in just a few years, even as children on the playground or citizens on the city bus.

    1. Thank you, Jim, I couldn’t agree more. “Wait” doesn’t mean letting children do whatever they want or disrupting others, being without boundaries. I’ve tried to make that clear in other posts.

  34. What great advice. For the parents who wait and let children learn while they are yoing there will be a big pay back later. when they are older these chuldren will be more independent/ responsible problem solvers who parents will not be waiting on.

  35. This is a great article! As a mum and an ECE teacher I do often struggle with not interfering with a child’s play etc. My new mantra will be “wait”. Thanks Janet

  36. Maryam Mansoor says:

    Loved the article. My question is what should I do when my 5 yr old is bullying my 18 month old and he cries and looks at me for help, because when I do stop my elder one, he gets more aggressive

  37. Hello! This is a wonderful article. Would it be possible for me to use it in our preschool newsletter?
    I appreciate your consideration.

    Bethany :o)

  38. Hani mokhtiaruddin says:

    Hi, this article is lovely! I’d love for the people around me who just can’t wait to “help” my 5 month old baby to read this. It’s really annoying when others don’t understand why you wait and quickly jump in to correct the situation.

  39. So true! We waited for our 22 month old to figure out what to do with his Lego blocks. He threw them everywhere, filled and emptied box for 2 weeks. One day he stacked them and joined two pieces. The cry of joy he let out and the pride in his eyes while showing the joined blocks to us was priceless. He was happy for what he could do, not for what we wanted him to do. Thanks Janet for being our inspiration.

  40. This was perfectly perfect for me right now. All my friends children are walking, saying words, doing lots of communicating by 12 months while my 14 month old boy is happy crawling (for 6 months now), saying “ah” for everything and playing with his train. I am finding it hard to appreciate where he is at and enjoying him achieving mastery in his own time. Thanks for the reminder.

  41. Mary Laing Pease says:

    0h Janet….I stumbled over this posting and it just filled my heart up. It’s been almost 10 years since I “took up” with Magda and shared her wonderful work with students but it seemed like yesterday reading this…..Best regards, and thank you…..Mary.

    1. Exactly how I feel. It filled my heart up. <3

  42. How wonderful,Janet!
    We just need such illuminating lessons everyday for making our baby sitting journey a better experience 4ourselves and instilling faith in our lil ones.

    Thanx for sharing such a thoughtful stuff…

  43. Sherry Shaner says:

    This is not just for babies. As the mother of an adult child with learning disabilities, this was one of the hardest things I had to learn. Waiting for an answer to a simple “yes/no” question asked of a third grader was extremely frustrating. We were told to count to 10 or sing a song in our head before even expecting an answer, giving our child time to process the question and form an answer. It really slowed down our pace of life and in the end that has been a very good thing. In the waiting moments, lots of things can happen from hugs to haikus, and watching him growing into a happy, health, and productive adult.

  44. Gale Barnes says:

    I work with Early Head Start teachers as a resource teacher. I will be sharing this wonderful article with them & my site administrator!

    1. Thank you so much, Gale. And a special thanks for the work that you do!

  45. You can also *wait* for them to sleep through the night on their own, which they will do when they are *developmentally ready.*

    1. True, but unfortunately our impatience as parents intereferes with this process. In our urgency to “get” our babies to sleep as quickly as possible, we create sleep habits for them that are often difficult to change. Falling asleep (and back to sleep) is natural and very young infants are capable of it if we can allow them the opportunity.

  46. Janet,
    I am so so so so so so greateful for your articles / teachings / books.
    As with anything in our lives, different things “click” at different times. I have read so much about waiting from your articles, but the way you framed this article just feels so on point and perfect right now. It empowers me as a mom. Thank you for that.
    We are on a busy stage with a 3 year old, a 22 month old and a 4 month old. And this article just gives me every reminder I need to engage with them on a meaningful way, mostly by this simple word: WAIT. I love it.
    Thank you!!

    1. Yay! So glad to hear that, Juliana! Thank you so much for sharing with me

  47. No doubt I am guilty of not waiting for my two-year-old son to do things in his own time and way, but I really notice it with his grandparents (my parents and my husband’s). Maybe this is a characteristic of the Baby Boomer generation of parents? For example, if we ask my son a question, they cannot wait for him to try to answer. Instead, they jump in and answer for him! We might ask, “What color do you like?” Grandma quickly answers, “Green!” It’s all I can do to say, “we know what color you like, Grandma, but I was asking the boy.” Thank you for teaching me about the power of giving a child the space and time to be fully himself. I know it has strengthened my bond with my son and allowed me to get to know the real him.

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