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.