A simple vegetable brush: part 2

In my last post, I discussed how everyday household objects like vegetable brushes become enjoyable play objects for infants and toddlers up to 3 years old.  I’m adding an additional suggestion into the mix, as I’ve witnessed first-hand how infants and toddlers relish this particular brush.

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A simple vegetable brush can become so much more

Never underestimate the appeal of seemingly ordinary household objects as play objects for children. In fact, they remain some of the most reliable toys to add to a play environment to keep a young child cognitively engaged. Toys should be simple in order to stimulate a child’s imagination. According to Magda Gerber, "passive toys = active babies." So how can a vegetable brush become so alluring to older infants and toddlers?

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Testing the limits is absolutely a toddler's job

Discipline. It’s a complex topic, and inevitably brings up many issues around how we were raised (the past) and what types of manners or values we want to instill in children (the future). As the founder of RIE® Magda Gerber said, “we are raising children based on how we were raised, yet we are preparing them for an unknown future. The whole thing is absurd.”

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Be free and easy without tummy time

I realize by writing this, I'm going completely going against the grain on what most pediatricians say and what most parents do... But, my belief in natural gross motor development is too strong. (And Dr. Emmi Pikler's research is too compelling.) So, please read the following with an open mind!

RIE® practitioners have hundreds upon thousands of hours of experience observing infants without intervening in their natural movement. As a result, we commence every Certified Parent-Infant Guidance™ Course with one rule: please start the class by placing your babies on their backs. Why? 

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How often do we let babies experience "flow?"

Imagine that a baby picks up a red ball. He explores it by touching it. How tight does he need to clutch it to hold onto it? He’s just learning his gripping skills, so it takes time for him to find a strong handle. Once he understands that it is malleable, he grips it tighter to see how it changes shape within his hand. The ball comes to life as his hand moves. Shadows appear and disappear. He lifts it above his head and understands that its weight is light. Then he decides to let go to see how it will drop on the ground. His full attention in on the ball dropping; he is a scientist as he begins to understand the ball’s properties. And then, an adult walks into the room and asks, “What color is that ball?”

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How simple baskets build confidence in a toddler

Notice how this toddler is collecting by color, size, shape, and then tone? This is sophisticated stuff! In the short video clip below, this two-year-old is separating the dark colors, such as purple and magenta, from the brightly colored ones. You can already see from the background that she's classified and separated the shapes and colors of the other blocks. 

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Do You Want Something or Nothing from a Baby?

As a nanny, I understand that caring for young children is a daunting task. We’re haunted by the belief that we can do better or we’re not doing enough – or maybe aren’t taking adequate care of the household of our employers.

But, what if your role as a nanny could be boiled down to two roles? Not only would this simplify your job, but it might also make the day much more enjoyable.  Magda Gerber, an early childhood expert and Founder of RIE, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of infant care and education, believed that caregivers and parents oscillate between two roles: we either “want something” or “want nothing” from children. But what does that even mean?

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Why toddlers should not be forced to share

The sharing epidemic is taking over: parents from Central Park to the Brooklyn Library are charged with helicoptering. They are either too involved in children’s play or not giving children enough time to play on their own. As Erika Christakis puts it in an NPR article that come out earlier this month, “we're underestimating kids in terms of their enormous capacity to be thoughtful and reflective...

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How Slowing Down Nourishes You and Your Baby

As New Yorkers, we often tout the virtues of slowing down. Many of us carve out yoga, meditation, or workouts as a time to relax and deliberately unwind. But, have you ever thought a diaper change as a time to relax and rejuvenate with your baby? Probably not! Most of us have the opposite reaction; we want rush through this unsavory process to get to the “real” bonding or playing.

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Three ways your baby benefits by removing the bouncer

One of the things that adults resort to is the belief that they have to guide the gross motor development of infants and toddlers. I have seen it over and over, and every time, I shudder. It is “anti-nature” at its core. The underlying belief is that infants and toddlers need our guidance to do what they are intended to do: sit up, crawl, and walk. This feeds right into the problem that adults view babies as helpless, incapable of learning without our assistance, and without intrinsic self-motivation. Rather than trusting the natural development process, we force it along....

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Two important things almost all daycares are missing

I have observed a number of daycares and early childhood centers as a part of my RIE training. They range vastly in terms of quality of care, environment, philosophy, etc. However, almost every daycare for infants and toddlers (0-3 years old) is missing two things – and their absence baffles anyone who understands attachment theory...

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Why it’s difficult to watch (some) parents at the playground

Recently, I went to the playground with my friends and their child. While there, I saw a lot of things that caused me discomfort. I saw a parent putting his child top of a play structure with stairs leading up to a short slide (not more than a few feet of the ground). The child immediately started to cry. After spending almost an hour there, I realized that these types of interactions were relatively common: adults putting toddlers on play equipment like bikes, slides, and stairs when the children have no expressed interest in them. In most cases, the children are also not developmentally ready for it.

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