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Original Quotes and favorite sayings from
Magda Gerber

Below is a collection of some of the quotes that have most resonated with students and parents over the years. Her friends, students, and colleagues often referred to them as “Magda’s pearls of wisdom.” Together, they sum up some of the key teachings and basic concepts of Magda Gerber’s philosophy. 

“Observe more, do less. Do less, enjoy more.”

“Whenever you care, do it with absolutely full attention. If you pay half attention all the time, that’s never full attention. Children are then always half hungry for attention.”

“All children accomplish milestones in their own way, in their own time.”

“Let the child be the scriptwriter, the director, and the actor in his own play.”

“Many awful things have been done in the name of love, but nothing awful can be done in the name of respect.”

“When you hold an infant, hold him not just with your body, but with your mind and heart.”

“My attitude has always been: Wait, Wait, Wait.”

“Allow the child to be authentic, to move, to feel the way they move, appreciating them for what they are.”

“Earlier is not better.”

“The toy in the child’s hand is alive.”

“Focus on quality and ease of movement, not on the age a milestone is accomplished.”

“You have to do what you believe in.”

“Go slowly, and with great patience.”

“A positive goal to strive for when disciplining would be to raise children we not only love but in whose company we love being.” 

“Lucky is the child who grows up with parents who basically love and accept themselves, and therefore can accept and love their child, who reminds them so often of their own selves.” 

“Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write and count. It is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace that is right for each individual child. Earlier is not better.”

“Predictability brings about security.”

“Repeating a simple pre-bedtime ritual helps your baby to get ready gradually. For example, making a habit of commenting while putting away toys can be helpful: ‘The ball goes into this basket here in the corner; dolly sits on the top shelf; the toys will stay here until morning when you can play with them again.’ Such comments build a bridge between ‘tonight’ and ‘tomorrow,’ and provide a sense of continuity and security.”

“What parents teach is themselves as models of what is human — by their moods, their reactions, their facial expressions, and actions. These are the real things parents need to be aware of, and of how they affect their children. Allow them to know you, and it might become easier for them to learn about themselves.” 

“What infants need is the opportunity and time to take in and figure out the world around them.”

“This too shall pass.”

“Infancy is a vulnerable state of development, therefore, it’s not enough that babies receive good care, the care must be excellent.”

“If infants are ready to do something, they will do it. In fact, when they are ready, they have to do it.” 

“Remember, nobody can make another person fall asleep. How to relax and let sleep come is a skill your child, like everybody else, must learn all by herself.” 

“The more we do, the busier we are, the less we really pay attention.”

“Children do not play because they learn; they play because they play.”

“We all need someone who understands.”

“Be careful what you teach, it might interfere with what they are learning.” 

“What do you think?”

“If we can learn to struggle, we can learn to live.”

“An infant always learns. The less we interfere with the natural process of learning, the more we can observe how much infants are learning all the time.”

“When we make a child share; that’s not sharing.”

“We not only respect babies, we demonstrate our respect every time we interact with them. Respecting a child means treating even the youngest infant as a human being, not an object.”

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