Huffpost Parents

So, What Is RIE Parenting?

Posted: Updated:

Imagine this scenario: Your baby cries, but instead of grabbing the diaper and performing a uniform change, you talk them through it. "I'm going to change you now, because your diaper is wet."

That's one of the main ideas behind the RIE parenting method, that by speaking to your baby, you'll slow down. Brought to the U.S. by infant-development expert Magda Gerber in 1973, Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE), a nonprofit organization headquartered in Los Angeles, coined the term that refers to giving babies more independence and respect.

Deborah Carlisle Solomon, author of "Baby Knows Best" appeared on HuffPost Live to discuss the true premise of RIE. And it's not about treating babies like adults. "We believe babies should be treated like babies," Solomon said. "[But] respect is the underlying foundation of this approach to being with babies."

In other words, talk to them like you would a person, such as the above scenario. An article in Vanity Fair pointed out that another facet of RIE includes giving babies the attention they deserve, without hovering:

Bouncers are discouraged on the principle that they are disrespectful to a baby’s true emotions, as the object is to make him zone out and stop annoying you. RIE is philosophically opposed to anything that disrespects a baby, including not only sippy cups and high chairs but also baby gyms, baby carriers like Björns, baby swaddles, and baby walkers, which Gerber, who had quite a way with words, called “a moving prison.”

Jennifer Lehr, blogger for "Good Job And Other Things," follows the RIE approach and told HuffPost Live that the method allows her to see the world through her child's eyes. She compared the treatment to the way someone would treat a paraplegic. "I talk to my child like I talk to a person."

Solomon agrees that the approach not only helps the child, but parents as well. "It helps parents relax and become more confident. It's a win-win for everybody."

Also on HuffPost:

Stress-Less Parenting Challenges
Share this
Current Slide

Suggest a correction