You won’t have to hang around me long to know that the book Simplicity Parenting one I talk about a lot recently. This book gave a physiologist’s reasons “why” behind a lot of the things that intuitively I have been attracted to in our gentle minimalism lifestyle. Here are some of my favorite parts that I hope will encourage you too!!!
The average American child has 150 toys. Our children have rooms packed with books, mountains of toys, and clothes. Cleaning can feel more like an archaeological dig than a “tidying up”. The children that Kim John Payne specializes with our children that aren’t coping well at school or at home. He takes steps to minimize what is in the home. His book is based on his findings that children thrive with less.
He doesn’t advocate taking it all away, but rather being intentional with what is left behind. Beloved books, baskets of fabric, ropes, clothespins, and art supplies. In simplifying the environments of his clients, he is able to create peaceful children that are rooted in and thrive in a peaceful home.
As mother’s, we are quite in tune to when our children are sick. Simplicity Parenting points out that there is more than one kind of illness. We can often sense when something isn’t right. Our children are upset, at odds with the world, overwhelmed, and not their truest selves.
We can help them with these “Soul Fevers” by cutting down. Giving them two or three quiet days, or one restful, simplified weekend. Jumping in to make everything better may be impossible, but even a simple “Are you okay?” Can make a good step toward repairing some soul fever.
Environment, Routines, and Schedules
I’ve already done a post on how and why simplify your kid’s room. The number of children’s toys that are in the homes of American kids needs to be halved and halved again, according to Kim. He says that “as you decrease the number of your child’s toys… you increase their attention and capacity for deep play.” This allows them to relax in an environment that isn’t prone to overstimulate.
Routines are another way to help your child relax and heal from soul fever, and can be preventative to the onset. One of the places we have practiced this is in the bedtime routine. Every day we do the same five things leading up to bedtime. There are still nights that it is hard to get them down, but usually having this predictable pattern allows them to know what’s coming and be less upset by its arrival. The routines don’t have to be complex, maybe it’s the same breakfast and question every morning. Maybe it’s lighting a candle when you sit down to eat. Maybe it’s brushing teeth, drinking water, and reading a story before laying down to sleep. These routines establish trust and security.
(Our new morning chore chart has gone so well with the children — check it out!)
Simplicity Parenting urges parents to remember to schedule downtime. It’s harder for me than I would expect. I have to remind myself all the time that allowing them to have nothing to do is an amazing gift, it allows them to grow their own imaginations and little brains.
Plus, our new hands-off morning basket time has been a real game changer!
Filtering out the Adult World
Simplicity Parenting encourages me to say less and listen more. I don’t need to teach him about shrinking forests, starving children, armies fighting, people dying and pressuring my children to be the best-liked.
Often the thing that brings in these worries to children is television. Not always the shows themselves, but the commercials between shows. You don’t have to shun all technology and screens, but be the gatekeeper of the issues and pressures that your children are being exposed to. This may be as simple as being careful about what is playing in the background of your home.
I learned so much, and also had so many goals and dreams for what mothering looks like reinforced through this book. Simplicity parenting shed light on why some things we are choosing to do have worked, and some strategies that would help our lives work even better!
(Are you needing some fresh ideas while the kids play inside this winter? Check out this post!)