One of the best things parents can do for their babies is building a strong relationship with them. Here are some RIE-inspired tips on how to bond with your baby
Seeing your baby for the first time, the closeness of nursing, watching them gurgle and coo when you say their name or show them a new colour… nothing beats that oxytocin rush we get when we’re around our children. And, whatever we’re feeling, we can be certain our babes are getting just as much of a kick out of it as us. That isn’t just a coincidence: according to the RIE philosophy, parents learn as much from their children as they teach them – we build relationships with our children, get to know them and facilitate them. And by doing as much as you can to nurture that relationship, you can be reassured that your littlies will grow up to be happy, whole individuals ready to blossom into the best people they can be.
The experienced educarers at Stamford American’s Infant Care Program live and breathe the RIE philosophy. When it comes to caring for children, their focus is to build a relationship with the child – over anything else, RIE philosophy style. Looking to build a stronger bond with your baby? Laura Sio, Infant Care Coordinator at Stamford American, shares some useful tips on how parents can build a strong relationship with their babies.
Treat them with respect
When it comes to your relationship with your baby, it is the quality of this connection that truly matters. A relationship with your infant that is grounded in respect, plus respect for your infant and respect for yourself, helps create a bond of reciprocity and understanding between you both. Magda Gerber, who founded RIE philosophy, said, “To care is to put love into action. The way we care for our babies is how we experience love.” The respect you have for your infant will mirror the way you nurture, handle and speak to them. In turn, your baby will reflect back to you the respectful handling and attention they have received.
Think of your baby as a whole person
From the moment your baby is born, it’s important to speak to them as though they are a whole person who is capable of learning, listening, thinking and feeling. When you let your baby know what you’re going to do before you do it, although they may not understand your words at first, they will soon begin to associate your sounds and tone of voice with your gestures and actions.
As a parent, we’re bombarded with the demands and busyness that life poses on a daily basis. You can forget to be present and enjoy moments with your baby. Being present means to pay attention – to observe more and do less. When you spend quality time with your baby, they understand their basic needs will be met and that they’re understood.
Don’t be afraid to give them a little space
Presence and quality time is a dance between knowing the moments you’re fully available for your infant and also the contentedness in feeling it’s okay to move away. Infants need a balance of togetherness to develop a trusting relationship, and they also need time alone to become comfortable being by themselves. In the words of RIE founder Magda Gerber, “What happens when you respect someone is that you put a little distance between yourselves. That distance sets the two of you apart from one another, so that you can see each other more clearly.”
Give them time and space for uninterrupted play
One of the greatest gifts you can offer your baby is uninterrupted time to play. Babies learn best by being actively involved. A baby learns to spend time by themselves by simply being by themselves. Gerber says it’s important for babies to discover joy and satisfaction in their own independence. When you allow your baby to play freely, you teach your child to depend on themselves. Infants require an environment that is physically safe, cognitively challenging and emotionally nurturing. Placing them on their backs on a comfortable blanket or mat, with a few toys is the perfect place to start.
Every moment spent with your baby is a time for learning
Take advantage of the simplest moments – whether it be nappy changes or mealtimes – as opportunities for you and your baby to connect. For example, if you consider nappy changes as quality time, your baby will always have a positive association when you change his or her nappies. Engaging with them when you are changing them demonstrates, “I am fully present and I am ready to spend some time with you.” It also allows them to be an active participant in their learning as opposed to a passive recipient. Offer them choices: “Would you like to crawl/walk to the nappy change table, or should I carry you?” or, “Would you like to take out a wet wipe for me?” An infant who is encouraged to actively participate in their own care routines will be challenged to become a willingly independent child who masters their own self-care as they grow older.
A safe, nurturing space for infants
At Stamford American Infant Care, you can be assured that your precious little ones aged two to 18 months will be truly nurtured by Early Childhood professionals in a space specially designed for the earliest stages of development. They’ll be given the chance to explore and discover the environment on their own – and learn from it – through uninterrupted play. The program is flexible and based on each family’s needs and is open from 8am to 6pm. The Infant Care program is available at both Stamford American International School and Australian International School.
A RIE-inspired infant care that follows your home routines
As parents, we’re all about keeping and setting routines, and you’ll be pleased to know that at Stamford American’s Infant Care, everything revolves around your child’s routines at home. Thank you, Magda Gerber!
For more information on Infant Care, please visit sais.edu.sg/infant-care/
This post is sponsored by Stamford American Infant Care