RIE Parenting Method, Explained

The goal of parenting is to turn the little babies or toddlers that are being raised into independent, free-thinking, decision-making people. But with many parents participating in parenting methods that involve doing everything for their little ones versus letting them struggle with a problem that is posed to them, the opportunities for learning are being lost.

And when this happens, the ability to do things without the constant need for Mom and Dad’s help becomes nearly impossible. But a way to combat this is to explore the RIE parenting method and see if it will work for your baby.

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Babies have a natural curiosity about the world. This is not surprising considering that everything is brand new and exciting to them. But that desire to try new things may be squashed if parents choose a parenting method that constantly stops babies from exploring and waiting to do things on believe their own, simply because parents little ones cannot do them.

But if parents took a beat and stepped back, they may see just how capable their infants are. And then they can make the decision to step in when necessary be it because a problem cannot be solved or something dangerous is being attempted.


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Here is the RIE parenting method explained and whether it will work for your baby.

What The RIE Parenting Method Is

The RIE parenting method stands for Resources for Infant Educarers, according to Healthline. The method was started by Magda Gerber in 1978, who believed that babies should be given the opportunity to “understand the world around them.”

Per the publication, Gerber believed that Babies are better able to learn and “flourish” if parents give them an opportunity to do things on their own. This means that if problems arise for babies, instead of solving them right away, parents give little ones the opportunity to work through them on their own. If after a period of time the problem does prove to be too difficult, parents explain while showing babies how to successfully complete the task at hand.


If done correctly, according to Healthlinebabies , will become “authentic” children. This means that children will make their way through the world feeling confident and “secure” having had a foundation laid at an early age that they are capable of doing anything.

How Baby Participates With RIE Parenting

In order to help babies participate with the RIE parenting method, they need to be involved in just about every aspect of their daily lives. Something that may seem difficult for parents to do with young babies, but with time and patience, they will see how the method pays off.

According to Janet Lansburysome ways that babies can be involved in their daily activities include:

  • Describing to babies what is happening and asking them questions, always giving them time to respond.
  • Have babies help with diapering, bathing, and the like.
  • Allow babies to determine their own path to play.
  • Allow free play to develop motor and cognitive skills.
  • Always acknowledging emotions.
  • Let babies problem-solve.
  • Watching parents and modeling their behavior after them.

While helping with “caregiving activities” or speaking to babies and waiting for an answer may seem too advanced, per the publication, these, along with other ways babies can be involved are not. Instead, parents help babies with bathing and diapering by asking babies to use a washcloth while bathing or raise their bottoms while diaperingaccording to VeryWell Family. And when those motor skills are developed to be able to do it, babies will be able to help with their daily activities with ease. They just need to be given the opportunity to do so.

Goals Of RIE Parenting Method

The ultimate goal of the RIE parenting method, according to VeryWell Family, is to ensure that no matter the age of babies they are seen as their individual selves rather than being an “object” for the first several months of their lives. This is because they are soaking in everything that they see and every experience they encounter. All of which are shaping the way that they see the world.

If parents use RIE to communicate with their babies, not only they will better be able to understand what little ones are trying to express, but babies will be able to fully participate in their lives versus being a bystander that everything is done for. When this happens, the “micromanaging” of babies’ lives ends, according to the publication. And in return, babies’ frustration levels may be reduced that parents are taking an opportunity to communicate instead of just trying to guess what the needs of babies are.

How To Know If The RIE Parenting Method Will Work For You

When looking at the RIE method, parents need to know, according to Parentsthat it takes a lot of patience to put the method into practice.

Because babies are treated as their own beings from the time they are born, parents are not supposed to just pick infants up if they cry to try to soothe them, per the publication. Instead, parents are supposed to try to determine what is causing the crying. And in the early days of babies, this may make the crying worse. Something that may feel unnatural to parents.

And if parents are in situations where they are easily stressed or if the method is causing them to feel so, according to Parents, it may be worth taking a break from this method of parenting and seeing if something else may be more productive. After all, raising a baby is supposed to be rewarding and fun with a bit of stress here and there. Not all stress with a bit of fun.

Source: Healthline, Janet Lansbury, VeryWell Family, Parents


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