elevating child care

The Gift of Intrinsic Motivation

“You can be anything you want to be.” Sounds like an empowering affirmation to give children, right? And yet these encouraging words from my mother created confusion and pressure, and I’m still not sure why. I think I heard “the sky’s the limit,” and it seemed too overwhelming. I thought I had to soar. Would it be enough to just be me? I believe I would have benefited from the more down-to-earth advice...

Enchanting Child-Inspired Pumpkin Carving

I’m thinking about launching a campaign similar to Nike’s using their slug line, but instead of Just Do It, I’d advocate Just ‘Let Kids’ Do It. Letting kids do it whenever possible, when they want to, opens the door to self-expression and encourages creativity, originality, and innovation. Letting kids do it might sound simple and obvious, but it can actually be quite challenging because as...

No Such Thing as Failure

Psychologists and educators generally agree that children need to be allowed to experience failure in order to build healthy self-confidence and resilience. In theory, I wholeheartedly concur and have offered that advice myself, but there is something about the term “fail” that has always bothered me. Failure is an adult perception, reflecting a win-lose outlook on struggle that infants and toddlers don’t...

When Babies Get Tired of Tummy Time

Back in 2011, I shared on this space “The Case Against Tummy Time”, a perspective by Feldenkrais practitioner Irene Lyon that remains one of my most controversial posts. Many have voiced disagreement with the suggestions in the article (which includes a video demonstration by an inspiring infant named Liv). Others have been relieved to learn that it isn’t necessary to place babies on their tummies — a...

5 Surprising Ways to Encourage Your Kids

As adoring parents, encouraging our children should come naturally, right? Not for me. Sure, I knew how to help, coax, cheer my kids on, and I assumed those actions were the essence of encouragement.  But through child specialist Magda Gerber, I learned that what actually encourages our children is far more subtle. To my surprise, most of her advice was the exact opposite of what my instincts were telling me to do....

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...

5 Best Ways to Raise Problem Solvers

“Parenting or raising a child is an impossible profession. The most impossible profession. Number one, we raise children with the knowledge of the past. It’s already obsolete.” This observation is made by infant specialist Magda Gerber in her video “Seeing Infants With New Eyes.” Noting the absurdity of raising children for a future that none of us can predict, Magda asks, “And then the question is, if...

No Bad Parents (Guest Post by Michael Lansbury)

As a fan of Janet’s work and her website, this is a reader comment I come across occasionally: “Oh, great! Another article that makes me feel like a bad parent.” Well, not this article. Nope. This article wants to assure you that nothing Janet writes about respectful parenting is designed to intimidate or humiliate, but only to inform, educate, and to offer readers a shot at a parenting experience beyond their...

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