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Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids Paperback – August 31, 2010
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“This book is a wake-call for all of us who have misjudged what children need and can handle, and who have wandered so far from the best practices that we are raising neurologically damaged and emotionally stunted human beings as a result. Simplicity Parenting arises from dialogues with real people, from their questions and their needs. Kim John Payne is sharp, funny, and wise, and–best of all–he has something shattering but positive to say to an America that is struggling to know how to live.” —Steve Biddulph, author of The Secret of Happy Children
“If you are raising children in these anxious times, you need this book. It will inspire you, reassure you, and, most important of all, it will remind you that less is more, that simplicity trumps complication, that rhythm and routine bring peace to the soul. In this profound and practical guide, Kim John Payne offers parents a doable, step-by-step approach to simplifying everyday family life, from the toy box to the dinner table. In the process, he reveals to us the rewards to be found in slowing down, savoring our children’s childhoods, and more fully enjoying our own adult lives.”—Katrina Kenison, author of Mitten Strings for God
“Simplicity Parenting takes the unusual and unusually wise stance that sometimes less can be more. Less as in less frenetic activity, less racing around, less clutter. Payne provides practical strategies for turning down the volume and creating a pace that fosters calmness, mindfulness, reflection, and individuality in children. Simplicity Parenting should be on every parent’s (indeed, every person’s) reading list.”—Kathleen A. Brehony, Ph.D., author of Awakening at Midlife
“Brilliant, wise, informative, innovative, entertaining, and urgently needed, this timely book is a godsend for all who love children, and for children themselves. It provides a doable plan for providing the kind of childhood kids desperately need today!” —Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness
“Kim John Payne helps parents better understand one of the most challenging issues of our time–the hurried, materialistic, competitive, highly pressured nature of today’s childhood. After reading Simplicity Parenting, parents’ new mantra will be ‘less builds security, sanity, and connection.’ And they will have the tools they need for implementing this mantra in their families.”—Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., co-author of So Sexy So Soon
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
A consultant and trainer to more than sixty U.S. independent and public schools, Kim John Payne, M.Ed., has been a school counselor for eighteen years and a private family counselor-therapist for fifteen. Payne has worked extensively with the North American and U.K. Waldorf movements. He is currently project director of the Waldorf Collaborative Counseling Program at Antioch University New England, the director of a large research program on a drug-free approach to attention priority issues disorders, and a Partner of the Alliance for Childhood in Washington, D.C. He lives with his wife and two children in Harlemville, New York.
Lisa M. Ross has been involved with books for more than twenty years, as an editor and literary agent, and now exclusively as a writer. She lives with her husband and two children in Stuyvesant, New York.
From the Hardcover edition.
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I live in a town with a gigantic popular mall, a famous mall even. All of my friends have children with hundreds of toys. Hundreds. When they come over, they always comment on how few toys we have, but even then we still had too many. Fighting consumerism that surrounds us is really hard, especially when you feel like the only one in your social group to be following ideas like in Payne's book.
While it was easy to implement many of the points in this book such as low TV use and lots of positive connecting with my kids, I always found it very difficult to limit the number of toys in the house. The author has this great part about using a "toy library", keeping out a handful of toys at a time. This part was the most difficult for me personally to follow. We love toys, or I guess, I love them more than the kids. We had 3 sets of grandparents and always got so many beautiful toys, they were very high quality toys, wooden/heirloom, etc. We also homeschooled for awhile and we are home a lot, so I always had out probably 3 to 4 times the amount of toys suggested by the author, which he suggests 10 toys total available for children to use.
I have finally done exactly what the book suggested after spending way too much time disagreeing with my kids about them picking up toys, asking for more toys when they have so many, and feeling upset that they have so many nice things and just never use them. We have exactly 10 toys out for my 5 and 1 year old to share during the day. Guess what? They actually play with these 10 things every day. Having out less toys, the first day my 5 year old engaged in creative play with her 1 year old sister for the first time. We play outside much more, even in the winter time. There is no struggle to show my 1 year old how to pick up 10 things. Actually, even if we had out maybe 5 toys, that would probably be enough to entertain them.
I think it's so tempting for parents to think, more options = more play. But it doesn't. I even put away a very expensive wooden kitchen play set and boxes of expensive legos, in favor of having out just 10 toys that we rotate every 2 weeks. So when the two weeks are up, we go to a small area in the basement and trade of for 10 other things. I can't believe how much easier our days are with less things! Great book, and these ideas actually work.