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How to Live Simply With Children

Updated on August 8, 2013
Reading nook- not quite finished but the boys love it!!!
Reading nook- not quite finished but the boys love it!!! | Source

Do you feel a sense of craziness in your daily life? Are your children's closets jam-packed with toys and clothes? Are you running from one event to the other? If you answered yes, it may be time for you to start simplifying! Over the past two years, I have begun to see the benefits of simplifying our family life. I just finished reading Simplicity Parenting and have set a goal to simplify our household by 50%.

Why Should I Simplify?

A comment one of my friends made when recently visiting our house, has stuck with me. She asked, "Hmm, your house is bigger than mine, how do you keep it clean?" I just laughed it off but I should have shared my little secret with her! She's known me for 20 years so she knows perfectly well that I am not a clean freak or that I even enjoy cleaning. My secret is that we have less "stuff." The less "stuff" you have, the less there is to clean!!!

The author of Simplicity Parenting states that our lives have accelerated to extreme speeds and children can feel the stress! We have too much stuff, too many choices and too little time! Simplifying allows parents to reclaim the space and freedom that all kids need, allowing children to focus their attention and their individuality to ignite.

Are you with me? Let's SSSSLLLLLLOOOOOOWWWWW down!

Toys

I figured we should start with what children usually have the most of, TOYS!! Even before I started officially simplifying, I knew my son had too many toys. The weird thing is, from the very beginning, we didn't buy him anything but necessities. All his toys came from others getting him gifts for this or that.

Simplicity Parenting tells us that we should go through our children's toys and pull out half. Sort through the half you have left and pull out another half. I am in the midst of doing this now. There are only a handful of toys that my boys actually play with. They are usually busy playing with the free stuff; building forts out of sofa cushions and blankets, making houses out of cardboard boxes or just being outside.

The author mentions sorting through your children's books too! This one was really hard for me. But, again, there are so many choices and so many of the books just sit there on the shelves. We kept out their favorites and with the extra room we made a reading nook in their closet.

Schedules

This one always tears at my heartstrings as I watch children the same age as my oldest son (6) being wisked away to activities every night of the week. School all day and activities every night, no time to just be a kid!!! I wouldn't want that schedule for myself.

As Simplicity Parenting recommends, my 6 year old, is allowed one extracurricular activity at a time. This allows for his life of school, sports and free-time to be well balanced.

Technology

Another tough pill to swallow here..... I feel like our household has too many electronics and that doesn't even compare to other children their age.

With all of this technology available, the children can become submerged in disconnected play and information overload. If I allowed my children to choose how long to play on an electronic device, they would play the whole day. For our family, we have built technology usage into part of the day and it has to be earned.

I have seen the effects of simplifying life with my children and still have more simplifying to do in order to create a more peaceful balance. I believe by simplifying life you are able to slow down and enjoy it more! Your children have time to reflect and learn on their own without being rushed through life. Quoting Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting, "Use the extraordinary power of less to raise calmer, happier and more secure kids!"

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    • stephanieb27 profile image
      Author

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thank you, BStoneBlog!! I am waiting for mine to go back to school and I desperately need to purge again too! Good luck! :)

    • BStoneBlog profile image

      Jay Dickens 4 years ago

      I absolutely love this! Like you, I have 2 boys, and we have way too much stuff. Sometimes I feel almost suffocated by the clutter. We need to purge! Thank you for the inspiration to start making changes.

    • stephanieb27 profile image
      Author

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Healthmom, thanks for reading! If you are like me, the toys themselves are a never-ending battle! :)

    • healthmom profile image

      healthmom 4 years ago from Ohio

      Great hub, I find our stuff stresses me out too. Something I need to work on...

    • stephanieb27 profile image
      Author

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Eddy! :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful article and thnak you so mcuh for sharing, I now look forward to so many more by you.

      Eddy.

    • stephanieb27 profile image
      Author

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Careermommy, thank you! Good luck in your purging! From personal experience, I suggest sorting the toys when your children are not around. :)

      Drpennypincher, I agree and the author actually mentions that children just want their parents to spend more time with them! :)

      Au fait, thank you! You made very strong points too that the author discusses in this book. :)

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Agree that sometimes we let our lives become too complicated and hectic because we want our children to have everything and learn everything, and benefit from all the many things that can enrich a person's life. Sometimes less is more. Making more time for creativity and imagination and time to appreciate and enjoy a few things instead of racing through many things with limited benefit is often more productive and satisfying for both parents and children.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      We had toy overload at one point when my kids were younger. I think what kids want more than lots of toys is for parents to spend time with them...

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Stephanie, this was a wonderful read. The toys and books are what I need to clean from by sons room. They have so many toys that it's getting harder to clean up! I will take this advice and begin with the toy box.