One tool that helped me a lot…

Many parents tell me that in theory, they like to provide more freedom and exploration to their active toddlers, but when it comes to life, their automatic reaction is to intervene quickly with “no”, “don’t” and “be careful!”

When I see a toddler doing something that I am not sure about:

  • Climbing the shelf
  • Throwing a toy in the air
  • Banging on the refrigerator door
  • Pulling on the curtains
  • Touching a house plant

My first instinct used to be to react immediately with the words:

“be careful” or “don’t do that”.

When I started learning about the Educating Approach,

I learned to respond rather than react.

Here is a new habit or tool I would love to share with you:

I created a new habit that is simple and works for me very well.  Throughout my day I have many moments when I am unsure about what I should be doing: setting a limit or just letting the child explore. When a situation like this arrives, I name what I see with a natural tone of voice: “I see you are trying to climb up that shelf.”

What it does for me: while I am saying it out loud I have a minute to think about if it is a dangerous situation and I need to set a clear limit or if I just need to move closer to observe more and let the child explore.

What it does for the child: when he hears this out loud, it helps him process better what’s going on. And maybe adjust what he is doing.

Overall it helps me say less empty “no’s” and “don’ts.” I save those for situations where I truly need them to set a limit. It supports the child’s cooperation because the child feels my trust and has more opportunities for freedom.

My mentor Deborah Carlisle Solomon said: “When your toddler has challenging behavior, respond with curiosity, kindness, and connection.”

Let me know if you need more information about RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ Classes.

Photo credit: Zoya Komarova

Wishing you all the best in the difficult yet exciting journey of parenting!


Teacher Kira

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Parent-Infant Guidance™

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Facilitated by a RIE® Associate, small groups of parents and babies come together in a relaxing, infant-friendly environment to make friends and enjoy learning together.


What will you and your child learn in RIE class ? Children move, explore, discover, play and learn.


Tips and ideas how you can build connection and cooperation with young children in your family.

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