You know that feeling you get when you are on a theme park ride that suddenly drops? Your stomach leaps out of your body and you have to catch your breath. You get the same feeling when your car drives over a crest at speed. It feels like an ampule of adrenaline has been injected into your bloodstream as you take a moment to settle yourself.
Now imagine that you are brand new to this huge, open world; all you have known previously is a confined cavity. You have been unable to travel through air, as your surroundings came everywhere with you. You have felt cushioned bumps, jumps and ups and downs but it has all been experienced within the surety of the womb in which you have been enclosed.
And now you are out. Now your senses are bombarded with bright lights, loud noises and motion through space. It takes a while for your still-focusing eyes to adjust to all the stimuli you see and your vestibular system, the one that helps you find balance, is still trying to make sense of all the movement you are now experiencing. Life has suddenly gotten a whole lot faster and it can be stressful trying to keep up.
Before I learned of Magda Gerber’s respectful parenting approach I would have never thought to associate caregiving time (feeding, diapering, bathing etc) with quality time. Quality time, in my view, was time spent playing games with the children, having fun, going for icecream, running around with them at the park etc. It’s true, that these things can be quality time if done mindfully but I now know that the type of quality time Magda spoke about, Wants Something Quality Time, far surpasses these other types of quality times spent with children for many reasons.
I stared at the dimmed screen of my phone, looking over my baby’s tiny body. The red notification bubbles drew me in and I set to work accessing them all whilst she completed her job of breastfeeding. In the beginning, I was glued to my feeding chair for an hour at a time, many times a day. It seemed like the ideal time to catch up on my emails, messages, and Facebook notifications. Often, my baby’s eyes were closed so I read whilst she fed – perfect!
Only, over time, I began realising that there was so much I was missing out on; so much SHE was missing out on. Although we had an intimately physical connection in those moments, mentally, we were out of sync. I was not supporting her as her caregiver. I was merely providing the food and inviting her to help herself. Continue reading
Today was the 5th day of RIE Foundations and the final day of the first week of this course. It has been an intensive week of learning, clarifying, understanding and internalising how to be a respectful parent.
Over this week I have bonded with a group of 7 other ladies and our wonderful facilitators, Deborah Carlisle Solomon and Michelle who all have the common goal of seeing children treated with respect. It’s been quite a surreal experience with a healthy mix of tears, laughter and debate which has had my head in a whirl. I am grateful for the next two days of quiet, where I can poke my head back out into the real world and contemplate all that has been thrown my way. Continue reading
Needles are feared by many people in society, including up to 10% of the adult population. Children, in particular, share a common dislike of needles, often responding to them with significant objection along with screaming and in some cases, utter despair. So, it isn’t any wonder that taking children for their 4 year old needles is not high up there on a parent’s making-memorable-moments lists.
Dr. Therese O’Sullivan is a dietitian, lecturer and mother to two young boys. She also happens to one of my closest friends, having spent many mornings and afternoons sharing a commute with her to and from school each day on the train, playing in sporting teams together, sitting through classes together and hanging out every lunch break.
Over the years, life circumstances and distance meant our relationship grew apart somewhat until the powerful bond of motherhood drew us back together. I was so grateful and honoured, therefore, when Therese agreed to write the very first guest post for PPCK on a topic that I am sure we have all struggled with at some point – nappy changes and tooth brushing.
Upon hearing about RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) from Kate when my first-born was little, many of the principles made sense. However, it wasn’t until my cheeky monkey started pushing boundaries that I really saw RIE work its magic.
Two experiences have stood out – nappy changing and tooth brushing.
Woah, what a crazy month December proved to be for our little family. Despite resolving to slow right down and keep it simple, we were indeed swept up in the Christmas mayhem.
We tried in earnest to be mindful of the children; their routines and their sensitivities, but unfortunately we were not always at the top of our respectful parenting game during this period. Occasionally we put our needs and wants ahead of our children’s, ensuring no one’s need or wants were actually met.
We ran into trouble with one particular social event (Christmas lunch, no less) at which our children really struggled to relax and enjoy themselves in a
new environment. With the benefit of hindsight we have devised a plan to help our children cope more confidently when placed in unfamiliar places in unfamiliar circumstances. Continue reading
Fostering independent play in young children takes time and patience. Some children are naturally more content with their own company but for others, playing independently can be a struggle, particularly if they have been entertained frequently as infants or had play done for them in the early stage of their life.
Our eldest daughter is like this and it has taken significant and conscious effort on our part to foster independent play skills in her. For the past three years we have been following the advice of Magda Gerber’s respectful parenting approach. We are now starting to see more independence in her play and contentedness to be on her own as a result.
Here are eight tips that have most helped us in encouraging our toddlers to play independently. Continue reading