Virtual Book Club: Simplicity Parenting


Welcome to our first Virtual Book Club meeting. Whether you read along with us or at our own pace, we hope you enjoy!  Please leave your comments either here on the blog or on today’s book club Facebook post! 

Our first book was Kim John Payne’s Simplicity Parenting.

I love this book. It is the ONE book that has helped me manage the utterly overwhelming mess and clutter I often find myself in.

It reminds me that we must slow down, and we must de-clutter. Because not only does our general busyness overwhelm us adults, but more importantly, it overwhelms our children.

As the author writes, “the pace of our daily lives is increasingly misaligned with the pace of childhood.”

When kids are distracted, they 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 it’s not just the toys that we need to de-clutter, 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.”

My husband and I learned some really excellent actionable lessons from this book, including the following:

  1. Clear out toys. This helps kids play more deeply with those they have. Preschools tend to do a great job of this – they keep just a few select toys out and cycle them in and out so they stay fresh.  We now do something similar, keeping most of our toys in a storage box that we rotate in and out every couple weeks.
  2. Narrow down books. This helps kids focus better on those they are reading. We cleared off the nightstands and narrowed down our collection, so they fit on the bookshelf. We love books and want to read to our kids a lot.  In many ways, having fewer books on one bookshelf makes them more accessible and interesting.
  3. Have more boredom and free play. We try not to schedule all of our free time on weekends. Boredom breeds creativity and learning.
  4. Develop rhythm and routines. Most moms I know strive for regular nap and sleep routines. Another idea suggested in the book is to have the same meals each night of the week, so then everyone knows what to expect. It simplifies shopping and cooking. I’m going to try this!
  5. Read more fairy tales. Children love and learn from stories, and this book reminds us what Einstein said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

The author describe this simplification as “anti-inflammatory” for families.  I love that term! The little bit we’ve already done on this does feel anti-inflammatory!


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