Less is more. The cliche sums up Kim John Payne’s philosophy but he astutely and engagingly expands upon it in "Simplicity Parenting." Examining four key areas - environment, rhythm, schedules and filtering out the adult world - the book gives concrete examples of how simplicity parenting will benefit family dynamics. Most importantly, it does so with a supportive, easy going, non-preaching tone.
Payne first examines the importance of decluttering one’s physical surroundings in order to calm both mind and body. He also argues that children develop stronger connections, creative impulses and patience when they have fewer things to choose from. He then explains why children need rhythmic, predictable routines and discusses the dangers of over-scheduling.
Simplicity parenting does not support lying to children but it does suggest that adults need to filter certain things from our kids' eyes and ears. Of course, this has only become harder as technology has rapidly advanced but parents need an awareness that young ones will pick up alarming, anxiety causing tidbits from the car radio, the TV news on in the background and adult dinner conversation.
Though some of Payne's recommendations seem intuitive, he provides a resonant, adaptable philosophy. An insightful read if you feel overwhelmed by activities, emotions and growing collections of noisy toy cars.