Stop talking to your baby in the high-pitched voice. Stop the peek-a-boo. And stop showering them with toys. The latest fad in parenting young children under 18 months old is to treat them just as you would any adult.
The controversial method is called RIE, or Resources for Infant Educares. The whole premise of RIE is to treat young kids as individual people and not babies.
Its popularity started in – you guessed it – Hollywood, with celebrity's like Felicity Huffman and Tobey McGuire utilizing it with their young children. It's now made its way to the East Coast with a RIE meet-up group in New York City having over 200 members.
RIE supporters say they want their young children to develop coping skills from a young age, so speaking with them as if they were adults leads to better communication and trust. They also don't succumb to the impulses of buying kids toys to keep them attentive.
“I don’t think I’ve bought a toy for my daughter since I started thinking about RIE,” parent Jessica Crystal, mom to a 21-month-old, told the New York Post.
“It’s not as if she doesn’t have toys, but it’s more realizing that, for an infant, everything around them is interesting. They don’t need you to make it more exciting for them.”
RIE supporters don't ban toys in their home but believe babies can entertain themselves with just their hands and feet. Children older than six months can be entertained with simple objects like a used water bottle.
Another big belief of those who follow RIE is letting babies cry it out. Whether they cry at night in the crib, or you take some time for yourself during the day by going into the other room and let your baby try and comfort themselves.
This practice has been debated for generations, with some saying the practice of allowing babies to sooth themselves works, while others say babies need the comfort of their parents and letting them cry can cause them more anxiety than they can handle.