Let’s Read: Simplicity Parenting



We are up to Chapter Six in Kim John Payne’s “Simplicity Parenting” entitled, “Filtering Out the Adult World”. This is my favorite chapter in this book for so many reasons.  It really sums up to me the difficulties with parenting in this day and age and gives some great concrete suggestions for parenting.  The chapter begins with the story of a mother and how she said her feelings toward motherhood could be summed up with the word, “worry”.  The author goes on to detail stories of parents where the parents are wondering if their children are being tended to enough by coaches or teachers.  He doesn’t address homeschooling families, but I think worry can be doubled in homeschooling families where parenting and teaching hats are shared!


“Worry and concern are sewn into the cloth of parenting; they’re integral parts of the experience…..Worry may be an aspect of parenthood, but it shouldn’t define it.  When it rises to the top of our emotions, coloring the waters of our relationship with our children, something is not right.”


Simplifying the daily life of both you and your child often helps in decreasing worry and anxiety.  However, another place to simplify may be just how involved we are with our children.  Societal pressure has turned some parents into helicopter parents; and it is not just in the United States but all over the world.  Here is an interesting article from the NY Times about the “the cure for hyper-parenting” and how “hyper-parenting” is occurring all over the world.


Kim John Payne’s suggestions include:

  • Simplifying  time spent watching screens, including television, computers, video games, handheld electronic devices.  By doing this you “install valves to stop the all-day, every-day rush of information and stimulation pouring into your home”.
  • Respond to your child’s needs in order to provide a secure attachment for children from which to grow.  Attachment gives a child a “base camp” from which to explore and grow.
  • We, as parents, need to relax and deal with our own fears and anxieties in order that our children can also be relaxed.
  • We, as parents, can limit our own media over-exposure.  We spend time with people who are optimistic about parenting children in today’s world.
  • We can stop “sportscasting”. Kim John Payne defines this type of parent as a parent who “drowns a child in words. In real time (that is, blow-by blow) they telecast everything the child touches, does, is wearing, or even what they may be thinking.”  See page 183 for more information.
  • We can understand there is a world of children and a world of adults.  This is not a popular view anymore as the adult world filters down more and more and children are treated as miniature adults.  Having a world of children and a world of adults doesn’t mean that the two worlds never intersect, but it does mean that one is conscious that some topics are for adults only and not for children.  See page 188 for more details about this important topic.  From page 188: “When we let children in on too much information – adult verbal and emotional clutter – it rushes them along, pushing them ahead without a foundation.”
  • Respect requires some emotional distance and separation.  You are the parent, the child is the child.  Family is love, and family is wonderful but you don’t need to dish out every detail of your adult life in order to be honest with your child or to be close to your child.
  • Are your words true, kind and necessary?
  • Stop emotionally monitoring the children – see page 198 for details.  “Many of us parents take our children’s “emotional temperature” several times a day.  We monitor their feelings, asking them to describe those feelings, to express them, to talk about them.  We expect our children to have a complex awareness of their own emotions, with the insight and vocabulary to convey that awareness….[this emotional monitoring has an unexpected effect.]  It rushes kids along, pushing them into premature adolescence.”  Allow your child leeway and privacy with their own feelings.
  • Remember and celebrate the ordinary moments of the day, especially right before sleep.


Please share what you loved about this chapter.

Many blessings,

9 thoughts on “Let’s Read: Simplicity Parenting

  1. It’s been a while since I’ve read this book, so it’s wonderful to get these reminders. My five-year-old is very concerned with the adult world and adult conversations. My husband and I really like to speak to each other when he gets home from work, but it frequently turns into a conflict with my five-year-old interjecting and wanting to know what we’re talking about. Wondering if you have any tips for how to have grown-up conversations with little people around? (We’ve tried waiting until after bedtime, but that’s frustrating for us adults who want to connect.)

    • Annie,
      Five is often a difficult age for that, but sometimes establishing an adult only time after dinner before the dishes can be cleaned up works if your child eats and then is done and can run off and play.
      But yes, saving serious conversation for after bedtime often is effective as well!

    • Thanks for the thoughts, Carrie. Yes, we aren’t trying to get into anything heavy by any means, but would sure love to have a “how was your day?” and “how was your day?” conversation without having to explain every single comment and vocab word to the inquisitive five-year-old. Haven’t figured that one out yet. I like the idea of children running off to play after finishing their dinner and the adults lingering at the table. I’m going to hang onto that idea and hope it materializes 🙂

    • Annie, Maybe part of what you are talking about too is how to teach a small child not to interrupt. I have heard some parents explain to their small child that they have to wait to be acknowledged when they are talking to another grown up and to come up and hold their hand if they want to be acknowledged. It could also be just getting home from work it is worth ten minutes for dad to hug, snuggle, talk to your cute one and then send them off to play for a few minutes so the two of you can catch up. There was a good blog post somewhere about teaching a child not to interrupt; I will see if I can find it somewhere for you.

    • Thanks Carrie, Yes I think interrupting is a huge part of it. Those first ten minutes are hard because my husband would like to talk to me (or be alone!) and my daughter wants to connect with him. I think we need to start getting more intentional about how we can ease daddy back into things at home.

  2. Talk about a timely post! During a news segment on my commute this morning, they talked about the massive storm about to hit us, tornadoes about 40 miles away, enterovirus, ISIS, and Ebola–all in the space of five minutes. I had the radio on because an accident had tripled my commute and I was scrambling for an alternative route. Thankfully, I had no kids in the car; the stress on me alone was bad enough!

    My children are late- to mid-elementary age, and they hear many things at school. It’s now harder to handle the news flow than it was when they were younger, but in general, we follow your practice of limiting media. I haven’t watched the nightly news in a dozen years. DH and I are pretty good about keeping our conversations private, although some nights he has commitments after dinner and there is literally no other time to talk. We have NO problem asking the kids to play or read elsewhere away when necessary, though.

    I really like your suggestion to ease up on the “emotional monitoring.” That’s one I hadn’t thought of before. I read “Simplicity Parenting” years ago when my children were much younger and I was at home full-time, and I see it is definitely worth a second read, especially since our lives are considerably less simple now.

  3. Very timely post! I am a Simplicity Parenting Counselor and am teaching the class on Chapter 6 tomorrow night. I agree with you that it’s a wonderful chapter filled with important insights around living in these times. I look forward to a lively discussion tomorrow night and will refer folks to your blog post for further thoughts on the chapter. Thanks, Carrie!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.