When it comes to the way you raise your baby, seemingly endless varieties of parenting methods abound. Some parents embrace the Tiger Mom method, whereas other opt for a more French-style take. But there is another approach for child-rearing that has recently taken over Hollywood — Resources for Infant Educators, or RIE. So what is the RIE parenting method, and would it be a good fit for your family?
At first glance, the RIE method looks like a back-to-basics, straightforward method of parenting. According to RIE.org, the goal is to treat children in a respectful manner with every interaction. As further noted on the official site, the trademarked RIE method of childcare involves treating the infant like a competent human being, as well as providing the baby with your full attention. What does this look like in practical terms?
First, talking to your baby is one of the most important aspects of RIE, and this does not refer to baby talk. Instead, you talk to your baby as you go about the actions of his care, as explained in the Huffington Post. For instance, you might say, "I'm giving you a bath now so you can feel clean and relax," as you bathe your little on in the tub. This conversational flow not only helps the baby pick up on important verbal cues, but it also helps the caregiver slow down and focus on the little one.
Focused attention is another tenet of the RIE parenting method. For the babies, this means the absence of light-up, loud toys; for the parents, this means unplugging and tuning in to your baby, as explained on Healthline. The idea of removing such distractions may sound like a heavenly environment for some families, but for others, the idea of surviving a night feeding without your favorite podcast would be unthinkable.
What's more, babies are not expected to meet milestones on a set schedule. According to Parenting, babies are encouraged to sit up or crawl at their own pace, following the RIE idea that babies know best. Trying to make your baby meet these milestones ahead of their own schedule may just result in frustration for everyone.
For some families, this pared-down, focused method of childcare is the right fit. But if the idea of going with toys and bouncer seats puts you on edge, that's fine, too. Every family has its own ideal parenting method, and the REI approach is just one avenue you may choose.