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How to Live Simply With Children
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!
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.
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.
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!"