Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Extraordinary Power of Less

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  
As you simplify life the laws of the universe will be simpler. 
- Henry David Thoreau

Today’s busier, faster society is waging an undeclared war...on childhood. With too much stuff, too many choices, and too little time, children can become anxious, have trouble with friends and school, or even be diagnosed with behavioral problems. Now internationally renowned family consultant Kim John Payne helps parents reclaim for their children the space and freedom that all kids need for their attention to deepen and their individuality to flourish. Simplicity Parenting offers inspiration, ideas, and a blueprint for change: 

  • Streamline your home environment. Reduce the amount of toys, books, and clutter—as well as the lights, sounds, and general sensory overload. Establish rhythms and rituals. Discover ways to ease daily tensions, create battle-free mealtimes and bedtimes, and tell if your child is overwhelmed. 
  • Schedule a break in the schedule. Establish intervals of calm and connection in your child’s daily torrent of constant doing.
  • Scale back on media and parental involvement. Manage your children’s “screen time” to limit the endless deluge of information and stimulation. 

A manifesto for protecting the grace of childhood, Simplicity Parenting is an eloquent guide to bringing new rhythms to bear on the lifelong art of raising children (from inside cover of Simplicity Parenting).

Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne is a practical guide to "using the extraordinary power of less to raise calmer, happier, and more secure kids."  My husband and I both read this book (read his review) and agree that simplifying our parenting according to these ideas would be worth a try.  Before reading this book, I thought that the ideas would be a little too extreme for us (me) - but now I think implementing some of the ideas will be a pleasant change for our whole family.  The author encourages parents to simplify the environment (reduce toys, books and clutter), develop routines and rituals, balance all the activity with down time (or "I'm bored time"), and to filter out unnecessary information (TV and topics that shouldn't concern children).  In essence, by following these principles, we're allowing children to develop/unfold at their own pace, and as parents we're given the opportunity to savor their childhoods.


  1. I know we'll all be happier with less, plus it'll be easier to find the stuff we need!

  2. I'm going to have to read this book. I had to cut way back on my older boys' screen time when they were little because my oldest got absolutely obsessive about it. I can see the same thing happening with my youngest. Monday night, though, once he knew that tv/video games were off limits (as a consequence of some behavior), he was perfectly happy lying on the floor with a book. Granted, it was a Star Wars book, but it's a start. :)


Have you tried this gear? Something similar you like better? Something I should try? Let me know by leaving a comment!

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