Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Simplicity Parenting

I just finished reading through a book called Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, More Secure Kids. I read through it slowly and enjoyed all the practical tips and ideas included. There is plenty of theory too, if you like that sort of thing. I loved the thesis of the book! Simplicity is better. Kids thrive on it. They need space to learn and grow, they need loving rhythm and predictability, and they surely don't need lots of "stuff" to keep them happy.
Corey and I have already incorporated some of the ideas from the book into daily life and I have definitely seen some positive, fun changes happening. I am noticing that one of the biggest shifts we are experiencing is coming from me, and it is a shift from a more activity-based parenting style to a more relaxed, experiential style of daily life.

Changing things up a bit

A few months ago, our language schedule changed and I started having one morning free again to stay home with the kids. I decided that on that morning every week I would focus all of my attention on Liam and Norah, and I wasn't even going to think about that day's language hours until the kids went down for a nap. I started getting hooked on these mom blogs, finding all sorts of fun preschool activities to do with Liam and Norah. There were art projects and learning games, songs and ideas for pretend play. So, I did a little planning before those particular mornings and we had lots of fun. The problem was though, that after about two weeks of this, Corey helped me to realize that I had inadvertently created a monster! Our son was beginning to constantly demand these activities and he seemed to forget how to sit and play by himself. He seemed extra fussy and whiny too. Corey explained that while I meant well, what I was doing wasn't really working so well and Liam seemed only satisfied when he was doing an "activity." It was also frustrating to me personally because I would work hard to create some fun activity (like set-up a little post office play area) and then he wouldn't even play with it for that long before he was ready for the next "thing."
About this time I read this book and it got me to thinking about some things I could do differently. I wasn't leaving enough open space for create play, for Liam and Norah to have to figure out and sort out things on their own. All the activities I was planning just led for the desire for more and more and more. (You should read the book because the author explains all this much better than me). Since then we started incorporating a few changes here and there, trying to create a little more open space, more rhythm and predictability in daily life, and more downtime to connect as a family. It feels really good.

A few things we are working on:

  • Simplifying and de-cluttering toys
  • Creating a calm, peaceful dinner time
  • Teaching the kids to be a part of daily chores
  • Reducing TV time
  • Letting the kids help more with meal prep
I am planning to incorporate many more over the coming weeks and months and I was thinking it would be fun to document them here. So, stay tuned for more.

1 comment:

  1. love this, sommer! can't wait to hear more...keep us posted.