RIE Parenting: What Is It and Is It For You?


Parenting is no easy job. After all, it means helping your little ones with basic needs, managing temper tantrums, and enforcing discipline in your household.

Most parenting styles employ a hands-on approach. But have you ever considered letting your kids take the wheel in their upbringing? This idea is the core concept behind RIE parenting.

This article will discuss what RIE parenting is and how it works.

What Is RIE Parenting?

Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) is a parenting philosophy that was developed by early childhood expert Magda Gerber in 1978. The unique approach encourages parents and caregivers to treat infants and toddlers like adults. 

But what does this mean?

RIE involves trust. Parents will take a backseat as their child plays an active role in learning about the world. That means giving your little ones plenty of solo play times and putting them in charge of simple tasks. RIE parenting allows children to learn at their own pace to slowly build confidence and competence. 

By adopting this approach, you’re not only helping your child: you’re also easing some of the responsibilities of being a parent. But this doesn’t mean that you’ll completely keep your kids out of sight. 

Always remember to provide the support they need when they need it. So instead of intervening every time your kids get in trouble, you’ll need to observe how they work their way through it before you decide to step in.

RIE Parenting in Action: How Does it Work?

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to RIE parenting. But you can observe these general guidelines:

Create a Safe Space

Create a safe environment that lets your child move freely with little to no restrictions. Provide your little one with a dedicated baby-proof playing area. Make sure that the furniture and toys are safe for infants even when left alone.

Provide Frequent Alone Playtimes

The need to keep your kids constantly entertained is just a myth. When left on their own with the right toys, your child can explore different ways to play! All you need to do is take a back seat, observe, and let your kid discover his or her interests. 

Talk to Your Baby

Your little one may be playing solo, but you’ll also need to communicate now and then. For example, tell them about different actions and activities — like animatedly discussing how to change clothes or their diaper.

Let Them Experience Emotions

RIE parenting encourages your little one to express their emotions. For example, let your child cry when they feel upset and shout out in joy when they’re happy. This will teach them that it’s okay to experience negative and positive emotions.

Encourage Participation in Caregiving

Learning independence starts with knowing how to take care of oneself. Give your child a head start by encouraging them to participate in caregiving tasks. During diaper changes, for example, you can ask your child to raise their legs as you clean their bottom.

Always Ask for Permission

The whole point of RIE parenting is to respect your child’s freedom. Part of respecting that freedom means asking for permission and allowing them to set boundaries. So even if your baby isn’t able to speak yet, still ask them if you can hug, kiss, or carry them in your arms.

What are the Benefits of RIE Parenting?

Some of the benefits of this hands-free parenting style include the following:

  • It fosters respect. Talking to their kids is the default approach for most parents. RIE parenting tweaks this by encouraging parents to ask for permission first and letting their children express what they want.
  • It promotes independence and self-motivation. Frequent solo playtimes help your child comfortably explore their surroundings and learn how to make decisions.
  • It lets them stay in tune with their emotions. Allowing your child to experience different feelings can help build their emotional intelligence.
  • It develops deeper relationships. Observing your child’s habits and body language helps you bond better and understand what they need.
  • It relieves parent-related pressure. RIE acknowledges that parents, like their kids, have their own needs. So spend time taking care of yourself, too.

RIE Parenting: Making it Work

As you practice RIE parenting, we’ve provided some tips to help make it better for you and your little ones. 

  • Don’t underestimate the power of physical touch. Make sure you don’t rely on too much observing your kids. Reinforce your relationship and express your love and support through touch.
  • Acknowledge that parenting styles change over time. As your child gets older, their needs and ways of communicating could change. Understand these evolving needs and set limits.
  • Take it easy. RIE parenting is all about playing a more passive role as a parent. Remind yourself that you’re doing enough if it means being a hands-off observer.
  • Sometimes, emotions can get messy. Letting your child experience emotions won’t always be pretty. Sometimes, tears could fall, and you’ll need to be present and provide the comfort your child needs. 

Discover Your Unique Parenting Style 

RIE parenting is a helpful approach that lets your kids grow and discover new things. Even though it offers a different style from traditional types of parenting, keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to raising your kids properly. 

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to find out what works for you and your child. For more parenting tips and advice, check out the Rayito de Sol blog today.

May 6, 2022