At The Nest, we love Magda Gerber’s work, and try to follow her guidelines whenever possible (see or We believe that this is the most peaceful, natural, respectful, and nurturing way of caring for infants and toddlers.

The main ideas we try to always keep in mind are:

  • Respect each child. Always treat infants as human beings, not as objects. We show respect for babies and toddlers in every interaction. We treat every child as an authentic individual, and take interest in who each child really is. We do not try to distract from, ignore, or alter true feeling or expressions. Rather than encouraging a child to feel a certain way (ex. ‘don’t cry,’ ‘you’re okay,’ etc). We always acknowledge emotions and help children build the confidence to handle even the toughest feelings.
  • Trust infants. Even the smallest babies are built to learn. There is no need to speed along any child’s acquisition of skills, or to hurry development in any way. They will do what is appropriate for them when they are ready.

“We have basic trust in the infant to be an initiator, to be an explorer eager to learn what he is ready for. Because of this trust, we provide the infant with only enough help necessary to allow the child to enjoy mastery of her own actions.”  -Magda Gerber

  • Interfere as little as possible. This refers both to ‘teaching’ and to problem-solving. Observe more, do less. We don’t need to teach children how to use materials, or  step in and help when they get stuck performing a task. If a child becomes frustrated and genuinely upset, we try the least invasive methods first. Narrate the problem they’re having, note their emotional reaction. Step in and help with one small aspect if necessary, scaffolding learning and allowing children to acquire and master new skills.
  • Involve children in their own care. Diaper changing, dressing, and feeding should not be done to a child; we talk children through the steps of routine care, encouraging them to become active participants in daily tasks.
  • Provide a consistent, completely safe environment. Our child-led methods are not possible in a space that is not completely safe. With the security provided by a safe environment, children become more free to try their skills, and to trust caregivers and themselves. Consistent, predictable routines and clear limits help infants and toddlers feel secure and confident.