The idea of “yes” spaces originated with Magda Gerber and the RIE approach wherein a safe place (usually a room or specific area) is created for a baby or toddler where the child will be safe and they can feel confident in their exploration, moving, touching, and playing with just about everything in that space.
In order to create a yes space, the area chosen just be free of objects or room elements that may be hazardous to the child (cords, small items they could choke on etc.) and also contains open-ended play materials and objects that are safe and engaging for their age and developmental stage.
This safe and cozy space encourages the child to engage in more extensive, concentrated play where they are not distracted by the tension of parents worried about safety concerns and interrupting their play with frequent “no’s” or corrections.
This independent play time helps to build the child’s focus and attention span. Giving our child(ren) this time also instills in them the confidence that they can be separated from us for a short period of time and still feel safe and content.
How to create a Yes space:
- Determine a room or enclosed space to designate as your ‘yes’ space (you can use baby gates or larger play yards to help facilitate this type of space if needed)
- Remove all safety hazards (secure furniture and cords, cover electrical outlets, tie up curtains etc.)
- Provide developmentally appropriate and safe toys and play materials
- Introduce your child to the new space
- Spend some time relaxing with a coffee nearby and observing them to ensure that the space is safe and appropriate for your child
And not only are these yes spaces good for the children, they are amazing for parents!! When we create yes spaces where our child is safe and happy, it frees us up to go to the bathroom, wash some dishes, or fold laundry in another room without worry that our child is safe. As a result, everyone feels more calm and content.