Silent Observation of Toddlers

by Lara on March 21, 2014

Gray and I are newly enrolled in a fantastic toddler/parent ed class at our local community college.  It was something we kind of fell into while registering for another class, and it is just amazing so far.

Today during class, the teacher called for a period of “silent observation.”  The entire concept was new to me, but when I came home and googled, I found that it is a common practice in RIE parenting (big fan, though I don’t follow any parenting practice exactly).

Silent observation of toddlers

The class has a strict no-phone policy, so I have no photos.  I can only tell you that it was really a special thing.  To have 18 parents scramble with their toddlers to get to class on time and all come together to put away our phones, stop our adult conversations, stop our corrections of their behavior, and just observe, was refreshing and magical.   I’m not  a religious person, but this felt like an almost prayer-like experience (perhaps the relaxing chant music contributed to this).  I watched my son, really watched him, and all at once felt grateful and proud and in awe.  I didn’t worry about the number of words he has.  I didn’t ponder if I should interject and make him share.  All of this was off limits. I could only watch.

I will definitely be carrying this exercise into our time together at home.  When it’s just the two of us, I try so hard to be interactive and talkative and work on things I know we need to work on together, and when he plays independently I usually run off to the other room to do the dishes or prepare our next meal.  But to sit back and silently observe him this morning for a good length of time was so enlightening that I may just make it a daily ritual.

For a more detailed idea of what I’m talking about, check out this post:  Observing a RIE class: a quiet afternoon with 2-year-olds.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea@WellnessNotes March 21, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Sounds like a great class. And silent observation seems to be a good idea at many different stages in our life…


Lara March 21, 2014 at 8:08 pm

That’s an excellent point!


Elena March 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

I’ve been reading a lot of books on allow children the freedom to regulate themselves. I really believe in not interfering into their play and also allowing them to have desires, thoughts, emotions. Rather than making decisions for them.
Never heard of rei. Thanks for mentioning.


Lara March 24, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Elena, I think you would like the core concept(s) of RIE (helping children to become self confident through respect and understanding their developmental capabilities), but some of the practices are a little at odds with AP (like sleep stuff). Check out this blog if you’re interested. I really like it:


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