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Dear Parent: Caring for Infants With Respect

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  325 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Internationally renowned infant specialist Magda Gerber, M.A., the founder of RIE, offers a healthy new approach to infant care based on a profound respect for each baby's individual needs and abilities.
Paperback, 2nd Edition, 240 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Resources for Infant Educarers (first published June 30th 1998)
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Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Now that I have read several parenting books, I have come to one huge realization: No book should be taken in total. None of these authors know my little boy, my wife, or me. While they may give us a lot to consider, they cannot understand our individual temperments and our personal and family values. As a result, read away, but tread lightly. Act as gleaner. And trust your own gut and know this: You are the expert at parenting your own child.

That said, Magda Gerber has a warm tone which feels l
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
As D.H. Lawrence said, "How to begin to educate a child. First rule: leave him alone. Second rule: leave him alone. Third rule: leave him alone. That is the whole beginning."

I wasn't sure about this book at first. I mean, she advocates letting your child go down stairs head first because it's the way they want to do it and that's the way they learn. I think she has probably worked with smarter babies than what I have since I think mine would have split her head open if I'd let her try that.

Emily Marks
Jul 13, 2011 added it
Shelves: parenting
What a helpful and warm reference book to return to time and time again of how to love and respect our children.
Two things I particularly appreciate about this book is the advice of talking to your newborn babies as if they understand and letting them know what you're about to do e.g. I'm about to change your nappies. Gerber compares this to if you (as an adult) were reliant on a carer and they just lifted up your legs by your feet and started taking off your pants without explaining what they
The RIE approach teaches parents to observe kids and not try to solve their frustrations or conflicts for them, but try as much as possible to let them solve them by themselves.

It is a good complement to the attachment parenting theory. Attachment parenting can be overwhelming for parents because it's putting a lot of responsibility on parents, especially when you're a first-time parent. It can feel as if it's your responsibility to stop your child cries.

But babies need to express themselves, a
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baby, parenting
"Do less, observe more, enjoy most!" - Magda Gerber

I learned of Magda Gerber through the teachers in our Waldorf school whom encourage her philosophy of parenting/teaching. Well, lo and behold. I absolutely love this author. Gerber is incredibly warm, inviting and nurturing. It's empathy, attachment driven with strong personal respect/boundaries (for both child and parent). She encourages parent therapy since we all essentially "re-live" our childhood (traumas) through parenting our children. To
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I were to recommend just one book to expectant parents, it'd be this one. A great antidote to the mania for training your baby to do everything, and also to the pressure to be a Pinterest-perfect, or just plain perfect (read: martyred) mom. Very loving and respectful approach to raising a human being.
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. Magda Gerber has some really great suggestions on how to work with toddlers. I learned so much from reading this.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting, rie
I see why this book is the one that often gets recommended as an introduction to RIE for parents. Compared to Your Self-Confident Baby, it's quicker to get through because each chapter is quite short. They both have the grandma tone. This one feels warmer to me, but that could also just be a function of me being more used to this philosophy now. Your Self-Confident Baby does have a more information on Dr. Pikler's work with orphaned children, though, which is quite persuasive for the benefits of ...more
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book for work.

Hm, it is a truly different perspective to what I have read before about educating children. I liked how the author introduced the term 'educaring' and the whole aspect of nature vs nurture comes into one. I also appreciated the point of view that even the most little humans are humans, rather than 'something that will be something after a year or so'.

I did not like certain examples for a couple of situations. 1) Two children are fighting for the same toy. No agreement is reached
Beth Harper
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I love the RIE philosophy, however having recently read “Your Self-Confident Baby” also by Magda Gerber, this book read as the Cliff’s Notes companion to that. Would definitely recommend “Your Self-Confident Baby” over “Dear Parents...” as it gives a more comprehensive overview of the concepts and real-life examples.
Rohini Kunchamwar
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Even though the title says infants, the book is applicable to all kids.
Good and practical ways to handle kids and situations are discussed.

I felt bit overlap with 'No bad kids' which I read earlier.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wish I would have read this before our little one was born. I feel like so much of the preparation is focused on the birth and not what comes next. I found this book centering, practical, and helpful for the whirlwind of new lessons in the first year.
Julie Aquilina
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I’m really starting to dig this RIE stuff. How have I not heard of this before now?
Kristen Iworsky
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I read this book because Janet Lansbury speaks so highly of Magda Gerber. Some good takeaways, but not as much as I had hoped.
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
"Think of having a baby as a unique time that you can both enjoy - it never comes back again. And that is the time for you to invest, to put in time. This is a time of letting go, a time to feel at ease, not hurried, not pushed, not wanting to achieve. If you are wanting to do something else while you are with your children, this ambivalence, this being torn, can make this time more difficult. (That does not mean you cannot also make arrangements and go away at times.) You still have the rest of ...more
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Full of good, thought-provoking ideas concerning raising children that are harder to implement than one would think.

I heard of RIE late in my first pregnancy, but I wasn't ready to "listen" then. What? Tell my baby I'm going to pick her up beforehand? Who does that? Who has time for it? Not I when they don't understand anyway. And yet, and yet. It is one simple thing among many that helps parents (people in general) start a respectful relationship with a baby from the very first. I've been doing
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Concise and easy to read. A refreshing approach to raising children. Accessible, down-to-earth, and inspirational. I do not plan to implement all of her suggestions, but will aspire to try many of them!
May 20, 2011 rated it liked it
My closest friend's mom gave me this book a few weeks ago. I'm not sure what I think of the whole RIE approach, but I'm certainly curious.

Right now, I like the idea of doing a 'tapas' approach to parenting: a taste of this, a taste of that. Yum, tapas...!


There's some practical and common sense advice in this book. I like the idea of giving your child the space and freedom to do things on their own, to not help them too much as they reach for the toy, etc. etc. And, of course, we should talk t
Jessie Jellick
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book for those with infants themselves and also for those caring for other peoples infants. I have done both and found that I followed the RIE approach a lot more strictly when working with other peoples children as I felt I could be more relaxed with my own child and also I was so much more tired with my own that sometimes it took too much effort to follow the theory. I think it is a new way of thinking(although it seems so simple and commonsense) it does take effort on our part...a ...more
Kelly Wong
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Helpful, sensible approach to hands-on, attentive and engaging child-rearing. This book gives parents the confidence to "make room" and bring baby up into a safe, peaceful and engaging environment where the infant is self-guided in learning.

Contrary to the high-tech gadgets that parents are encouraged to own, Gerber offers a tried and true approach. Children can be active, rather than passive observers of toys that whiz and pop and screens that talk and "teach."

RIE methodology spoke to me and
Mar 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great book about raising infants. Got a lot of good ideas about toys for infants, not intervening and letting children try to work out their issues before stepping in, observation is very important, thumb sucking is not as horrible as I thought, and other great things! Did not totally agree with everything, but loved a lot of her ideas.
Liz Busby
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it
A little low on practical techniques, but certainly a good read with a different perspective on childcare. Longer review here on my blog Unified Parenting Theory. ...more
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must for anyone who cares for babies. The idea of caring for infants with respect may sound undeniable, but this book teaches you how many of the ways infants are commonly treated are not respectful. It is super easy to read and so informative! a great resource for parents!
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Thanks Jendi for the rec. A big take away is the idea of being totally present with your child, and then other times leaving them (safely) alone. Valuable, I think, rather than constant but divided attention.
Jul 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the RIE method, and this book is nice since it is straight from the source. However, I don't find it as easy to read and apply as the newer Baby Knows Best book about the RIE method for home use.
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
a classic from the late Magda Gerber,one of the most insightful experts on raising young children out there
Dec 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
A great book for first-time parents that encourages natural and simple parenting.
Mar 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, very sad I never found this book when I actually had tiny infants. However you can definitely use her methods even in raising older kids.
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: babies
such a different approach from some of the current trends. I love the ideas! much better than her other book, I think.
Moshe Zadka
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's a great book about the respectful parenting philosophy -- a sort of the infant version of "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen" when the child is to young to literally talk.
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