What I’m reading: Simplicity Parenting

by Christina on October 4, 2016

I’ve been feeling increasingly overwhelmed by the clutter in our house and by our general busy-ness. At first I thought it was inevitable with 2 kids and that I would just have to deal with it, but then I read this book:

simplicityparenting

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne.

“The pace of our daily lives is increasingly misaligned with the pace of childhood.”

It convinced me that it is actually very important for my children that we declutter. Because they get overwhelmed by it all, too.  Because they get distracted and don’t play as deeply as they otherwise would. 

“Too much stuff leads to too little time and too little depth in the way kids see and explore their worlds.”

And that it’s not just the toys that we need to declutter, but also our schedules.

“With this level of busyness, distractions, time pressure, and clutter (mental and physical), children are robbed of the time and ease they need to explore their worlds and their emerging selves.”

I learned some really important and actionable lessons from this book and highly recommend reading it. For example:

  • Get rid of excess toys so kids can play more deeply with those that they have. I donated a lot of our toys and put about half of the remaining in a storage box. Now our play area has just a few toys that I trade out every couple weeks.
  • Declutter books to allow kids to concentrate more deeply on those they are reading. We have accumulated so many books it feels like we’re running a bookstore sometimes.  I cut down our book collection to our favorites, limiting to the number that would fit on our bookshelf. We love books and want to read a lot, and in some ways I think we are actually reading more now that we have the better ones more accessible.
  • Have more free play. Don’t schedule all of our free time.
  • Welcome boredom. Boredom breeds creativity and learning.
  • Declutter bed area. Our son’s bed was overflowing with toys and books. We have cleared all that out so he now has his bed with a few select bedtime books.
  • Have rhythm and routines. One idea suggested in the book is to have the same meals each night of the week. Everyone knows what to expect and it simplifies shopping and cooking. I think I’m going to try this.
  • The importance of stories. Children love and learn from stories, and as Einstein said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fair tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

I especially liked how the book says this simplification is anti-inflammatory for families. That makes sense to me, and the little bit I’ve done already feels anti-inflammatory for us!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Chris October 5, 2016 at 7:23 pm

I totally agree with you. I’ve read “Simplicity Parenting” carefully and highly recommend it for its wisdom and common sense. Simplifying and decluttering in exactly the way you are doing can help calm and de-stress kids and families.

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