Talking to Children – A RIE Chat Summary

(Beginning in mid-March 2020, when the world shut down, I began a bi-weekly conversation with the parents who had been in my RIE classes. Since not every family could make it to these conversations, but each conversation touched on important elements, I would often write up a summary of the conversation. What follows is one of those summaries.)

Hello and a Happy Saturday to each of you,

Another quiet day in the land of zoom for me, but that’s okay…it gave me time to finish reading that sibling book I teased you about. I’ll be pulling together an article for you from my notes on it and the sibling webinar I watched last week…but even if you only have one child at home right now, I’m going to recommend you take a look at it…It will talk a lot about conflicts, which is something you will want to brush up on as we re-enter our social worlds…someday.

But it does make me wonder if these chats are being held at accessible times? I chose Saturday afternoons in hopes of coinciding with the nap windows for many of your children…but I also know that naps may be precious times for you to think about things OTHER than your children. J If there’s an alternative time that you’d like me to try, I’m game. If not, no worries…I do absolutely plan to continue to host these meetings. I’m still figuring out how to be the best resource to you all.

I did have a lovely chat with a Mom new to RIE, and she asked me for one thing that she could do, today, to start putting RIE into practice. My go-to answer is…talk to your child! Tell her what you are going to do…then WAIT for acknowledgement or a response…and then follow through. Not only is this how your child will learn language, but this puts you into reciprocity with your child. Reciprocity is that beautiful back and forth that you have with someone else, where you get in tune with them. It’s sometimes compared to a dance. This is what will lead to cooperation with your child…when she feels like she is part of the conversation, she will be more apt to go along with the plan…and when you consistently tell her what you are going to do before you do it, she will be able to relax. Imagine…how you would feel if at any moment, someone might come and pick you up bodily…or, perhaps more realistically, take something out of your hand. You’d likely feel a little tense! RIE is about relationships…forging a respectful, reciprocal relationships with your children…from the very beginning. The Educaring Approach sets you on a path for a beautiful, startling, sometimes challenging, but oh so rewarding experience of parenthood.


 One other way I’m working on being a resource is, of course, offering one on one consultations on any topic you are struggling with…at a time that is convenient for you. I’ve already had several conversations about sleep, and one about a host of things…from sleep to playroom set up to eating and drinking! I’ve loved the opportunity to get to know some of you a little more deeply, and, I hope, help make life a little easier. I’ve also been asked about offering nanny or prenatal classes online, and yes, I’m absolutely game! Let me know!

Alright…signing off in anticipation of a peaceful afternoon and evening…wishing you the same. But before I go, as always…a reading from The Parents’ Tao Te Ching:

26. Become the Student

Children are fascinated by the ordinary
and can spend timeless moments
watching sunlight play with dust.
Their restlessness they learn from you.
It is you who are thinking of there
when you are here.
It is you who thinks of then
instead of now.
Let your children become the teachers,
and you become the student.


Your children may frequently change the focus
of their attention.
But this is not restlessness.
It is curiosity.
When they are doing something
they are doing only that
until they move on to the next thing.
Watch them.
Let them set the pace.
See what you can learn.