Skip to content

Need's Something vs. Need's Nothing Quality Time

“But mama, I can’t. You do it.”

For a child to act independently, they need to feel safe and secure, and a key component is quality time with you. There’s nothing like time feeling loved and learning from you to prime the brain for independence. The next time your little one expresses self-doubt, resistance, or frustration, use this model of Quality Time from Magda Gerber’s Original R.E.I. Manual:


“Wants Nothing” Quality Time
This is when the parent doesn’t want anything of the child, and has no plans other than wanting to simply be with the child. This looks like floor-sitting, being available, and with all of your senses awakened to the child; watching, listening, and thinking of only that child. Here the child sets the pace and is the initiator.

It sounds easy, but can you do it?


“Wants Something” Quality Time.
This is when you do have a goal to accomplish something together, such as dressing, bathing, feeding, etc. This, too, should be regarded as quality time. You can make sure the child knows that this time is different from your “Wants Nothing” time by actually saying, “Now I want to diaper you,” “Now it’s time to get dressed,” etc.

This is time where you are available and have expectations of your child. It’s time you can both enjoy and introduces and reinforces expectations and discipline (teaching) moments.


Does Magda Gerber’s concept of Quality Time can help you embrace simplicity with your child? Can you use it to be more present?

How will you balance “Wants Nothing” and “Wants Something” time with your child this week?

Go to top Top