September 21, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne, M.Ed, with Lisa M. Ross

Part of my role as a parent trying to raise my children in an eco-friendly environment is to constantly streamline and simplify our lifestyle, to put what is important at the forefront and do away with the superfluous objects, events, activities and incessant 'noise' and input that society is always trying to say we "need" to be complete.

So when I came across the book, Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids, I knew it would help me hone my philosophy and give me more of the tools I need to carve out a sacred path with my family.

From dramatically reducing clutter and toys, thereby giving developing children less choices and distractions (sensory overload) from their amazingly natural capacity to grow and discover the world without the use of dozens of useless plastic props, to recognizing when your child or teenager has a 'soul fever' and needs to take a much needed break from daily routines, the authors cover an array of parenting topics by dispensing wise, easy to institute tips for establishing 'rhythm' in your home to giving your kids the 'gift of boredom.'  They suggest 'boredom is the precursor to creativity,' and I have seen this with Miss O many times. When she is left to her own devices, and 'nothing' to do, she comes up with the most magical activities to entertain herself.

Another key element of the book is the chapter on Filtering Out the Adult World. Not just through obvious ways like limiting screen time via TVs, computers and iPhones, but by talking less and listening more to our children. One of my favorite lines from the book is: "When we talk over and under and around a child, when we talk too much, there's less space for their thoughts, for what they have to say." I love this reminder, because I think as parents, we're constantly trying to teach our kids everything we know, at every opportunity, but in essence, my kids have taught me more about what's truly important about life, in their short time on earth, simply by existing.

I would highly recommend this book to every parent. The guidance within will help you raise your children in a peaceful, loving and secure home, while giving them the tools they need to thrive in the great, big world once they spread their wings and fly.

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