RIE in Real Life…Resources for you

RIE in Real Life are often stories from classes, from parents, or things I’ve realized on my own as I continue to learn and grow. But as I often say, the R in RIE stands for “Resources” and sometimes I like to use this newsletter to share some of the things I’ve been reading, watching, or thinking about. It’s a window into where my mind is…a collection of things I find valuable…and maybe you will, too! Enjoy:


Do you know Teacher Tom? If you don’t, I highly recommend you check him out. He writes a regular blog with short articles about his thoughtful interactions with preschoolers. I love this recent one that’s about his ‘trick’* for helping children who are sad when their caregivers leave. This paragraph right here sums up so much of my own feelings about being with children:

We’re not here to make things better, to end the crying, or to distract them from missing their mommies. We’re not even there to soothe them any more than we’re there to “good job” them: that is not the job. Becoming soothed is their job. Cheering for their own accomplishments is their job. Our job is to be with them when they’re crying and when they’re cheering, speaking truth, and creating space for them to feel exactly how they feel for as long as they need to feel it.

*Hint – there’s no trick. Just like RIE isn’t magic, it is just magical.


My mind has also been on play lately…well, pretty much every day as that’s what we observe in classes. In babies and toddlers, when we watch, we can see them learning about the world and themselves. As they get older, play offers a window into children’s minds…what they are thinking about and working through.

There’s a whole chapter in Brain Body Parenting (the book we just recently read in my online bookclub) about utilizing play to help children process and gain skills. But sometimes we see play that we feel we need to police… ‘bad guy’ play. But just like ‘bad behavior’ is about something internal, ‘bad guy’ play is well…I appreciate how author Donna King puts it:

It’s not just ‘permissible mischief.’ [play] provides a safe way to metabolize problematic feelings and impulses.
Pretending is like releasing a big deep breath; it clears tension, and frees up the emotional energy that children need to become the decent people they aspire to be.

*Her book is one I’m considering for my next bookclub book…but it’s one of many! If you’d like to weigh in on the selection or find out more, please email me!


Speaking of books and processing hard topics…we are in the midst of some very hard things right now, to put it mildly. No, your children aren’t reading the NYT, but they may be hearing you discussing these hard things. At minimum, they are feeling your feelings about all that’s going on. That’s okay. It can’t be helped, but books can open the door to conversations. I’ve always been a fan of A Mighty Girl and they rose to the occasion this week with an epic, annotated, booklist called Dissent Is Patriotic: 50 Books about Girls and Women Who Fought for Change. While most of the books are for 4 and up, the youngest book is for 2-year-olds. And even if you don’t have a 4-year-old in your house yet, these are good titles to start thinking about.

And just today, I happened to hear a spectacular interview with Ibram X. Kendi about his latest bookHow to raise an Anitracist. Listening with my RIE ears, I hear him talking about how we can make our environments support or hurt us (for example, having a very diverse set of dolls in their playspace…or not), realizing how much children understand and how capable they are, and how we can and should model authenticity and uncertainty (rather than keeping silent when you aren’t sure how to talk about racism). This 38 minute podcast is a must listen! And this book is also on my shortlist for my bookclub!

Covid Queries

I’ve heard a lot of conversations, questions and worries this week about the newly release covid vaccine for children under 5 (yay!). Understanding vaccines is beyond my paygrade, but I follow a brilliant epidemiologist that sends weekly newsletters and she provided some excellent links to help you all in your thinking:

A 1-pager with talking points for top parental concerns. It includes what we know and what we don’t know about COVID-19 vaccines for this age group. Here is the Spanish version.

A 3-page tip sheet for talking about Covid-19 vaccines for children six months to four years old. This was written by a team of multidisciplinary doctors and scientists.

Here are the American Academy of Pediatrics answers to COVID-19 vaccine frequently asked questions
A Times Magazine article I wrote this weekend may also be helpful: “My toddlers already had COVID19. I’m still getting them vaccinated”.

Travel Resources

Summer is here and travel is in the air, and many parents are embarking on their first long car trips or plane rides with infants and toddlers. Back in late 2021, I asked YOU to be MY resource for travel tips for parents…to give me the skinny on what has worked for them, so I could share it with the wider group. Here is what I came up with then: Travel Resources.docx. And since it’s been almost 9 months since that was compiled, I thought I’d check in to see if anyone has any tricks or tips to add? For instance, someone recently told me they loaded an old Ipad with tons of stock photos (animals, nature, etc) so their child could have a ‘screen’ they could interact with on their own terms. Love it.

Send me your tips and tricks (and links to gadgets or devices you found helpful!). I’ll update the Travel Resources doc and share it again soon!

As you can see, I had a lot on my mind this week!! I hope some of these resources resonate with you (and seriously, take a listen to that Kendi interview…it is powerful!). And maybe you have some resources you want to share with me? I’d love to know what you’re reading/listening to/watching!