Let’s Read: Simplicity Parenting

 

We are up to the section entitled, “The Power of Less” in Chapter Three.  Kim John Payne talks about going through toys in this section.  He advises:

  • Try doing the first whittling away of toys without your child present.
  • Throw out the broken or damaged toys or ones that are developmentally inappropriate.
  • Throw out any toy that is too complex or ones that will break easily.
  • Evaluate the remaining toys – is it a toy a child can pour imagination into or is it too fixed?
  • Choose and keep the simplest toys.   Children usually play with what they can move or what they can use in conjunction with their imagination.
  • Avoid high tech toys or gadgets for small children – realize things like cell phones and such are being purposefully marketed to children as young as 8 to 10 years of age.
  • Do not buy the toy of the moment.
  • My favorite quote:  “In a world as sped-up and hypercharged as our own, surely the last thing our children need is more stimulation.”
  • Donate the rest of the toys, and organize what remains.
  • Remember the role of  real work in play:  baking, digging, gardening, food preparation….Have real items around for children to participate in these roles.
  • Play with the four elements outside and have tools for this available:  buckets, nets, shovels, kites, scoops, bubbles, baskets and containers for pouring and collecting.
  • If you have a yard, this is your “first frontier of nature”.  Use it!
  • For books, children before the age of eight or nine only need one or two books accessible.  A dozen or fewer books can be on a bookshelf as a permanent collection.    Kim John Payne advises at seven or eight years of age to add in reference books about the subjects your child is interested in.

How do you simplify your child’s toys and books and encourage outdoor and social play?

Blessings,
Carrie

Let’s Read: Simplicity Parenting

 

We have arrived at Chapter Three, entitled, “Environment”.  The chapter begins with painting a picture of the child’s room which ends with this sentence: “The room’s pastel color scheme and basic furniture – bed and bureau where the changing table once was – are no longer visible, buried under a thick overgrowth of multicolored, ever-growing, and expanding stuff.”

Kim John Payne talks about how in many of his workshops, parents want to begin simplification by simplifying the environment.  This is a tangible, doable step toward simplification.

American culture leaned toward selling toys to children beginning around Continue reading

Let’s Read: “Simplicity Parenting”

 

We are jumping ahead to Chapter Two, “Soul Fever”.  Kim John Payne opens up this chapter with the fact that parents know their children so well and all of the different sides our children can have, “the too little sleep side”, “the overcome with silliness side” etc.  He admits toward the bottom of the page that our love for our children never falters, but the instinctual knowledge of our children can wax and wane.

In many cases, I have talked to parents who have felt so disconnected from their children. This can especially occur as children grow older and are out of the house for almost more hours a day than they are home.  I have also talked to parents who are very fearful of their children being away from them and are fearful their connection will no longer be strong as their children’s world expands.  It is a delicate balance, and I think worth checking to see where you are right now, today, with connecting to your children.

Simplification can help Continue reading

Let’s Read: “Simplicity Parenting”

 

“I worry that we’ll increasingly understand the “purpose” of childhood by seeing, increasingly, what people are like when they’ve been rushed through theirs.  And I don’t think that will be a pretty picture.” – From Simplicity Parenting

 

I totally agree.  It is hard and challenging work to keep our children at a normal pace of development in this day and age.  But it is important, and necessary work.  The work you are doing will help your child grow up to be a well-adjusted, resilient adult.  The goal of parenting is to lead toward a healthy, whole human being.

To this point, Kim John Payne recommends simplification.  He talks about doing a home visit with families and poises the question, Continue reading

Let’s Read: “Simplicity Parenting”

 

Chapter One opens with a story about a sweet little eight year old who was entering third grade.  His parents were both professionals in education and government, and they lived in the city.  The little boy was a picky eater, an intelligent speaker with adults but had trouble connecting to his peers, avoided any risk taking, and was a bit anxious.  James was often in the midst of a stream of adult information about political and adult intellectual topics.  The parents decided the best way to help James was to work on rhythm, and decrease the amount he overheard regarding world news, politics and topics like global warming.  When this was done, the sleep of the little boy improved and his outdoor play expanded.  His anxiety decreased.

 

The authors ask, “Was all of this directly attributable to the changes James’s family made?  Was it lack of TV?  Less talk of global warming?  Can we point to any one thing that made the real difference?  My answer to that would be no, and yes.  I don’t think there was any one thing, any magic bullet that obliterated James’s nervousness and controlling behaviors.  But the steps taken to protect James’s childhood definitely had an effect.”

 

Simplifying the world of a child often leads to growth and positive change. This can often be so difficult in Continue reading

Let’s Read: “Simplicity Parenting”

 

The last time I posted a “Sunday Books” series was in November of 2013. We were headed through Elizabeth Pantley’s “No-Cry Discipline Solution”, and honestly, the posts were not generating much thought and I wasn’t really feeling inclined to delve deeper.  I gave myself permission to breathe and walk away from it since I didn’t feel it was working in that moment.

I have wanted to write on the chapters of “Simplicity Parenting: Using The Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Children” by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross.  I am not trained as a Simplicity Parenting Group Leader as I found the cost to be prohibitive, but I hope to add some ideas and experiences of my own as we go through these pages.  I know many of you out there are Group Leaders and I do hope you will chime in, and I also know many of you have worked through these pages in small groups on your own and also have experiences to share.  I shall enjoy hearing from you!

I love the opening line of this book in the Introduction: Continue reading

Sunday Books: The No-Cry Discipline Solution

We are continuing our look chapter-by-chapter through Elizabeth Pantley’s wonderful book about gentle discipline entitled, “The No-Cry Discipline Solution:  Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior Without Whining, Tantrums and Tears.”

On page 49, Elizabeth writes, “Children are joy.  We love them with every cell of our being, and we can’t imagine what our world would be like without them.  Yet, everyday life with our children can be challenging, frustrating, and exhausting……You may want to focus your decisions on creating joy, achieving your goals, and seeing the big picture of your child’s future, but you can’t even begin to see that big picture because there are so many little pictures in the way.  Who would have ever thought that simple tasks, such as putting on shoes, brushing teeth, or giving a bath would require so much preparation, negotiation, and emotion? And who would have thought that raising one tiny child could bring so many frustrating everyday challenges?”

She goes on to write that many behaviors are immediately improved when we, as parents,improve the way we interact and communicate with our children.  I don’t know how many of you remember this post, but it was one that resonated with many parents on this topic:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/05/23/changing-our-parenting-language/

Our communication methods have to be as varied as our children – children grow and Continue reading

Sunday Books: “The No-Cry Discipline Solution”

We are moving through this book (and by the way, feel free to leave suggestions for our next book study.  I am thinking along the lines of a book Waldorf families would be interested in!)  This section of Elizabeth Pantley’s “The No-Cry Discipline Solution” is called,  “Discipline and Emotional Control.”

We expect our children to have much more self-control than we as parents model for them.  We act horrified when our children kick, scream, bite or talk back, but yet we often handle things ourselves with annoyance, impatience, irritation, and anger.

This is not to induce guilt. We are human, and we are often operating under more stress than the generations before us with pronounced economic stress and the stress of raising children in isolated, immediate family units as opposed to having extended family and long-standing community that could step in and help in parenting.  However, when we examine ourselves, then we realize not only what we are modeling but also that a child is still developing in the area of emotional control.

Author Elizabeth Pantley reminds us on page 39 that such things as backtalk, biting a playmate, clinging, crying, hitting a parent, impatience and more are likely caused by a child’s undeveloped emotional control.   She advises us to step back in the moment, and remember that our child is  growing and learning.  The child is developing!

In the next section, called “The Four Parts to Discipline”, Elizabeth Pantley outlines the four parts to effective discipline.  These are Continue reading

Sunday Books: The No-Cry Discipline Solution

We are continuing our exploration of Elizabeth Pantley’s “The No-Cry Discipline Solution:  Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior Without Whining, Tantrum or Tears.”  Pick up a copy at the library or your local bookseller and follow along!

I know many gentle parents who wouldn’t love this first sentence of the section “Building A Strong Foundation”:  “This book is about how to live everyday life with your children in  a controlled yet loving and joyous manner.”

Control, and anything that smacks of authority can be really difficult for parents to accept these days.  I think if it helps you, I consider the author’s use of the word “controlling” more akin to discovering the values that make your family unique and reflecting those values in the limits you set as parents to make your home a harmonious one.  We had a series of fruitful back discussion on authority some time ago, and I link here for you to review:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/12/02/re-claiming-authority-part-one/  and here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/12/05/re-claiming-authority-part-two/

One of the main concepts from this chapter to take away is “The Big Picture is More Important Than Any One Action”.  If we have over 100,000 hours to connect and love our children before they are off living their own lives, then all of these hours are not going to be blissful and peaceful, but there should be a sense of joy and love and delight for our children.  Continue reading

Sunday Books: “The No-Cry Discipline Solution”

We are on page 17 in the 2007 edition of this book, with a section entitled, “Planning Ahead, Looking Ahead:  Your Child As A Teenager”.

Author Elizabeth Pantley recounts that she has three teenagers in the home and a kindergartner, and how working on both ends of the parenting spectrum is such a wonderful thing.  I have to say in my own limited experience of having a twelve year old, an eight year old and a three year old that I feel the same way.  Having older children makes you a much better parent to the tiny children under the age of seven! Continue reading