RIE Practice: Wants Something Time

What is another kind of quality time with your baby?

I’ll dance with you and then you must dance with me.” — Magda Gerber

Adapted from Dear Parent by Magda Gerber and the RIE Manual

How to do it:

  • Find meaning in the times we have to engage with our baby; the times when we “want something” because we have a task to complete with the baby. Caregiving times are often times when we want something — for example, changing a diaper, going to sleep, getting dressed, etc.
  • Tell the infant what you want to do: “I want to change your diaper.”
  • We are looking for ways to invite the infant’s cooperation. 
  • Go slowly so the infant can follow along and participate as much as they can. 
  • Toddlers can become playful during these times. It is helpful to acknowledge their playfulness while reminding them of the task at hand. If they continue to try to play, it is helpful to remain firm (not harsh). “It is time to put your clean diaper on. I am going to put it on now.” 

Why we do it:

  • Infants learn self-control, self-discipline, and cooperation during “wants something” time.

Ties to Principles:

What parents and carers say:



Gerber, M. (2002) Dear Parent: Caring for Infants with Respect (pp. 76-77)

Greenwald, D. and Weaver, J. (2013), Gerber, M. (1979) The RIE Manual for Parents and Professionals Expanded Edition Extended Edition (pp. 16-18) 

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