Book review – Simplicity Parenting

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Paine M.Ed and Lisa M. Ross

As a parent who worries way too much about whether I am overwhelming my kids with too much choice, too many toys, and too many events, this book was a gift from heaven (well the bookshop!). Just reading the first few pages gave me that sense of comfort knowing that I was in the hands of experts who knew exactly what I needed to give me perspective on how I was raising my kids.

To help parents to understand the effects of an overloaded home life on their children, Payne and Ross illustrate their point with a number of case studies (many of which were a bit close for the comfort mentioned above but enlightening nonetheless) showing how they’ve helped parents simplify their child’s life and regain the space and freedom needed for a healthy childhood.

Without over-sermonising the authors shows parents how and why we should avoid shuffling children through a busy after-school schedule, how ‘educational’ toys and books are actually of little benefit, and how the TV and screens are detrimental to the health of children (well we kinda knew this already).

There are a lot of sensible observations about how children play when they have fewer toys, when their books are carefully chosen, their choice of clothing is limited, their food is simple and nourishing, and how much calmer (yes, calmer!) children are with blank spaces on the daily calendar and without the endless deluge of information and stimulation from TV. There is a plethora of recommended ways to fire up children’s imagination with simple and inexpensive items like paper and pencils.

Addressing many parent’s fear that the lives of their children are being overwhelmed by the increasing busi-ness of day-to-day life, Simplicity Parenting goes to great lengths to show it’s readers, with plenty of case studies as evidence, what we can do to streamline our own and our children’s home environment.

2 thoughts on “Book review – Simplicity Parenting

  1. This all sounds very familiar. Bringing my young sons up in the 70’s and 80’s I didn’t read the books, thank goodness, I would have worried that I was doing it all wrong – and didn’t have the money so we had to be creative with play and activities.
    I did collect everything that could be cut up, glued, painted and with some initial guidance left the boys to do the rest. We invested in a few long lasting toys, Lego was a passion they took years to grow out of. We did spend a lot of time outdoors dog walking, camping and always had lots of wood and ‘stuff’ to make dens and piles of sand to play in because we were doing up various houses. More importantly we gave them the freedom to be bored and learn how to discover things for themselves.
    Young children love to help and learn how to do things – time spent with them early on makes them much more independent and helpful when they are older. At least that is how I found it. Sure we make mistakes, perfection in parenting is impossible; all we can do is use our love and what talents we have to make sure they are caring human beings and have the opportunity to make the most of what life throws at them.

    • Hi Beverley
      Yes Lego is certainly one of the toys my boys keep going back to because they can be so creative with it, and are so proud of anything they make. I definitely think letting them be bored is healthy because that is when they’ll head off and do something creative.

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