As a mother and postpartum doula, I am a huge proponent of Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE®).

RIE teaches parents and caregivers to trust the innate abilities of children to communicate their thoughts, feelings and needs from birth.

So, how do we get started you ask…

  1. We create a safe and simple environment
  2. We weave consistency and predictability through their days and nights
  3. We observe their actions and self initiative, for babies we wait for cues and vocalizing, with children who speak we look for a combination of what they tell us and what we see in front of us in that moment
  4. Participate in parent-infant guidance classes at a RIE center

Observation

Through our observation, we build awareness of subtle communication cues babies and children use to let us know what they require from us at any given moment.  I also feel we learn to anticipate their needs quite accurately by being observers.

As a parent or caregiver, we learn when children are inviting us to provide support and when we get to be a quiet observer; we also begin to discover the “beingness” of non-action.

Trusting yourself and your child

What I mean by beingness is, allowing our children to be autonomous in a safe environment, be with them and do nothing.

Our children in turn, learn to build confidence in their ability to communicate their needs accurately, confidence in us as responsive parents and caregivers and confidence in their own abilities to problem solve and work things out for themselves.

Practicing RIE

When my daughter was a baby, she would get hiccups sometimes.

I remember putting her down for a nap once.  She was full, well burped and swaddled with a clean diaper, and then the hiccups started.

Dun dun dunn…

I walked over a couple of times to observe, quietly, with the intention of intervening if necessary, but I waited.  “Tarrying,” as RIE Associate Diana Suskind might say.

Initially, I felt immense pressure to do something, because “what if” this is stressful and “what if” she begins to cry; eventually, the hiccups dissipated with no intervention on my part and she slept perfectly fine.

This experience and many like them have reinforced my confidence in practicing RIE as an invaluable tool for caring for infants and children respectfully while fostering an environment for children which imbues a strong sense of confidence in their abilities.