Briefly – When I was in grad school, studying Early Childhood Education, some ideas really resonated with me. And as I have become a parent, practitioners who follow these theorists have influenced how I relate to my kids.
I’ll try to keep this stuff simple–it’s my passion and interest, not yours! But you can Google any of the names I share here and learn more for yourself.
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) – including his 4 stages of development and his theories around Schemas, Assimilation, Accomodation and Equilibration. You can click here for a quick, easy-to-read summary on these theories. In short, Piaget’s stages correspond to the Parenting Stages I identify, and the other pieces are super-cool as they relate to brain development. When you know what typically developing kids are capable of, you can adjust your expectations accordingly. And if you are parenting a neuro-diverse kiddo, you get a sense of how their needs differ from those of neuro-typical kids. (Don’t get me started on how hard it is to advocate for the needs of your neuro-diverse child.)
Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) – particularly his work on the Zone of Proximal Development and Scaffolding. Read more here. Although this work is often shared with educators to use in the classroom, it has great applications at home. It helps with the parenting struggles around when to help your kids and when to let them do it themselves (and sometimes struggle!).
Magda Gerber (1910-2007) – Resources for Infant Educators. Gerber was a follower of Emmi Pikler. They promoted the idea that babies are born as whole people and we should interact with them and respect them accordingly. Powerful stuff! She created resources that educators and parents have successfully applied for decades. And their research has shown that using these practices results in deeper bonding in infancy and throughout childhood.