Book Review: Simplicity Parenting (The Power of Less)

From the Elephant Journal

If a child has been able in his play to give up his whole living being to the world around him, he will be able, in the serious tasks of later life, to devote himself with confidence to the service of the world. – Rudolf Steiner.

Deep, uninterrupted play is a child’s work; how a child discovers, and comes to understand herself and her world. When is child is absorbed in imaginative play, she is developing as a full human being; head, hand and heart.

In order for play to be effective and nourishing for children, children must remain present; to the input of experience, their senses, and their creative expression. It is our job, as parents and teachers to create environments that are responsive to a child’s rhythms, cycles, and developmental needs.

In his book, Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne explains that the pace of our modern world is way out of balance with the rhythms and space that children require. He points out that too much stuff, too many choices, and too little time takes a toll on children in a way that has led to grave consequences – anxiety, behavior problems and even developmental disorders.

Payne even makes it into a kind of formula. Quirk (a child’s natural state) + Stress = Disorder. He states that stress can push children along an established behavioral spectrum towards turmoil. He notes ‘when you simplify on a number of levels, back they come.’ He’s even proven through a number of studies that it seems to work. “68% of children whose parents and teachers adhered to a [simplicity] protocol in his studies went from clinically dysfunctional to clinically functional within four months.”

Consultant, trainer, and counselor Payne has spent many years helping families simplify. Simplicity, he argues, is the essence that allows a child to live and function in a healthy, well-balanced and resilient way. In Simplicity Parenting, Payne outlines four areas that need attention; environment, rhythm, schedules, and filtering out the adult world.

Through simplifying a child’s environment with a drastic reduction of ‘stuff’; increasing the rhythm of daily activities and home life; creating balanced and spacious schedules for children with plenty of downtime; and filtering out the adult worldby limiting exposure to the stress of adulthood, technology, television and unconscious dialogue, parents can create the space and freedom that children need to flourish.

Payne’s book is an echo of slow movements everywhere; slow food, slow travel, slow clothing and slow planet initiatives have been calling for us to slow down, be present, pay attention, and most of all enjoy the moment. Children naturally know this already. It’s our job to help them do it – mostly by simply getting out of the way.

Simplicity Parenting is a unique and thoughtful look at the impact the dizzying pace of modern life has on children, and what we might do about it.


An Overview of Last Child in the Woods

Bookcover - Last Child in the Woods

In this influential work about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.

Last Child in the Woods is the first book to bring together a new and growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond—and many are right in our own backyard.

This new edition reflects the enormous changes that have taken place since the book was originally published. It includes:

  • 100 actions you can take to create change in your community, school, and family.
  • 35 discussion points to inspire people of all ages to talk about the importance of nature in their lives.
  • A new progress report by the author about the growing Leave No Child Inside movement.
  • New and updated research confirming that direct exposure to nature is essential for the physical and emotional health of children and adults.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder has spurred a national dialogue among educators, health professionals, parents, developers and conservationists. This is a book that will change the way you think about your future and the future of your children.

Nature Activities for Kids and Families

Hello world!

I have finally begun my blog journey today after a long time contemplating the possibilities with my expert blogger hubby.  I would like to begin this adventure with a “wish list”of books that are must-reads for us at some point in the near future:

“Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul,” Stuart Brown

“Nurture Shock,” Po Bronson

“Pink Brain, Blue Brain,” Lise Eliot

“Raising a Son: Parents and the Making of a Healthy Man,” Don and Jeanne Elium

“Why Don’t Students Like School,” Daniel T. Willingham

“How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk,” Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

“You’re a Good Mom,” Jen Singer