This website uses affiliate links at no cost to you. Thank you.
April 09, 2022

Pause with Your Baby

At 9-weeks-old Penelope has suddenly woken up and started interacting with the world around her. It's been really fun to see her start to interact with us and with her siblings. Compared with Gus and Teddy, Penelope seems to be much more interested in social interactions. She loves "chatting" with us, staring into our eyes, or just watching us. She's started smiling and cooing, all really fun things! 

But, we have the possibility to miss a lot of her attempts at communicating and participating with our family at this age. So much of her interaction with the world comes in "the pause." It comes in the space between our own interactions with her. I've talked before about the importance of pausing as a Montessori parent with older children. That pause is often for our own benefit, to collect our thoughts and emotions - for us to observe. 

Pausing with your baby is slightly different. Pausing with your baby is for their sake. These spaces in between our own interactions, give your baby's brain the time to connect the dots about the interaction. It also gives them time to respond in their own way. It can be easy to think that baby's brains might work similarly to ours, but that's not true. Their neural pathways are not anywhere near connected enough to respond to you in our adult speed. In RIE we call this pause "tarry time." It's the space that the baby needs between interactions in order to catch up with what's happening and respond.   

By taking a pause, or incorporating tarry time, a baby's brain gets a second to catch up. And, it's amazing what they can do when they are given that time. It's important to remember that they are learning as much from the pause - anticipation, routine, expectations. But, that pause also helps them communicate with us their desires, and their abilities. If we are always rushing through our interactions, we miss so much. 

So, during your interactions with your baby, try pausing. Either between questions, or comments. Or between steps in your diaper changing process, or before moving them from place to place. It can feel a bit unnaturally slow at first, but it gets easier the more you do it. In that pause, stay connected with your baby, count in your head if you need to. Observe their interaction (or lack of interaction) and then continue. Continue, pause, observe, continue, pause, observe. 

Here are some of my pausing observations from this week with Penelope: 
Even at 9-weeks-old, Penelope is able to respond. These responses will look different for each baby and will change as she grows. But giving her that tarry time, that pause, is a gift for both of us. I get to see a little more clearly who she is and what she is capable of, and she gets to be an active participant in our day. 

Try this with your baby - take a pause to observe and allow them to respond when caregiving. See the pause in action with this RIE and Montessori baby

Have you tried pausing or incorporating tarry time into your routine? 

This post is week 9 of my weekly Montessori baby series focusing on Penelope.

Support me