What is Mindful Caregiving? (adapted from Dear Parent by Magda Gerber)

The basis of mindful caregiving is to help raise an authentic child through respect. Respecting a child means treating even the youngest infant as a unique human being, not as an object. An authentic child is one who feels secure, autonomous, and competent. We have basic trust in the infant to be an initiator, to be an explorer eager to learn what he is ready for. We observe carefully to understand the infant’s communications and his needs. We become more humble, we teach less, and we provide an environment for learning instead.

Our role is to create an environment in which the child can best do all the things that the child would do naturally. The more predictable an environment is, the easier it is for babies to learn. We give the infant plenty of time for uninterrupted play. Instead of trying to teach babies new skills, we appreciate and admire what babies are actually doing. We establish consistent, clearly defined limits and communicate our expectations to develop discipline.

 

Nicole Dietrich Kraska, LMSW is the mother of a 2-year old son and the founder of Mindful Mommy * Mindful Me. She provides group and individual coaching for parents seeking to implement a mindful and respectful approach to care-giving. She is a licensed social worker and experienced therapist with both individuals and groups. She studies child and family therapy at the Ackerman Institute and has studied early childhood development and infant gross motor milestones. She is heavily influenced by the work of D.W. Winicott, Magda Gerber, and Dr. Dan Siegel and is pursuing certification as a RIE® Associate. Nicole received her masters degree from New York University and is a graduate of Virginia Tech. She lives in DUMBO Brooklyn with her family.