You’ve likely heard the phrase “different strokes for different folks,” right? Well, this phrase certainly applies to parenting styles and philosophies. As a nanny, a huge part of your job is to learn as much as you can about how your nanny family operates and to stay in tune with the parenting styles in place in the home, whether the identify them by name or not. Here’s an overview of a few popular philosophies and styles to help get you accustomed to what’s out there.

This is an acronym for “Resources for Infant Educarers” and is a parenting style quickly growing in popularity. Parents who practice RIE enhance their awareness by observing their babies and children and allowing them the space to develop their own needs and personalities. Parents aren’t responsible for endlessly entertaining their babies but do encourage regular communication and expressing of emotions. Discipline comes in the form of learning to stick to boundaries, not punishments. RIE also encourages parents to take care of themselves, too.

Free-Range Parenting
This parenting style emphasizes independence with parental supervision. It allows kids to explore their world and come up against limits naturally, like letting children play outside alone or going to and from school without a parent or caregiver present. Kids are left to solve problems on their own as they arise. One thing to keep in mind for this parenting style? You must be aware of each state’s laws pertaining to children to be on their own—legal ages and circumstances will vary.

Attachment Parenting
On the opposite end of the spectrum is attachment parenting. Attachment theory focuses on the nature of the relationship between children and their parents and caregivers. Parents who practice attachment parenting usually practice these four components amid daily life: co-sleeping in the same bed, feeding on-demand, holding and touching by keeping the child near at all times, and responsiveness to crying by intervening in all crying (no “cry it out” here).

Positive Parenting
Positive parenting is based on the idea that all kids are born “good” with the desire to do the right thing. This philosophy focuses on disciplining without breaking their spirit – it’s about correcting behavior while still making sure the kids feel loved and respected. The goal is to develop a relationship with the child based on mutual trust and respect.

And we’ve only just scratched the surface! Interested in one of the styles mentioned? Deep dives strongly encouraged! Strong knowledge of a style or philosophy is just another tool to add to your nanny toolbelt.

That said, there are as many parenting styles as there are parents, so remember that at the end of the day, you are there to implement your nanny family’s style and preferences!