Saturday, August 17, 2013

Simplicity Parenting

I haven't really ever read parenting books. I guess I haven't felt the need yet, because Evie is still so young. After reading a review for this book, it seemed worth giving a try.

Simplicity Parenting is all about paring down the stimulation in our lives and getting back to basics.  One of the author's suggestions is to take all your child's toys out and put them in the middle of the floor...the toys from their bedroom, the living room, the closet, all of them.  Then get rid of half. And then half of that. It seems a little extreme at first, doesn't it? She suggests you do the same with the books.  Not necessarily get rid of all of them, but to at least only have a few out at a time. It is so easy to accrue tons and tons of toys, and many of them just aren't "special" you know? And I'll be honest: once I went through Evie's toys and eliminated a lot, she does seem to play more with the few toys that are available, and to play with them for longer. I've noticed she's able to really get interested in one thing, rather than just jumping from one toy to the next because there's too many options.

Makin' skirts out of bubble wrap ;)
Kemi and I end up talking about this topic a lot, in part because we both grew up in families where money was tight. Like, real tight.  For each of us growing up, fun meant playing outside for hours, building forts, making up our own games, playing pretend, and digging holes.  My family never had cable TV and never owned a gaming system, at least not while I was growing up.  When I was young, my favorite things to do were play dolls with my sister or read. And you know, looking back, I'd tell you I had a great childhood. And so would Kemi. Kids don't know what they don't have. I didn't know that all my clothes were hand-me-downs. Kemi doesn't regret that his family never drove a brand new car.  I don't even really remember the "stuff" from my childhood, aside from the few super-special toys that I still have packed up for Evie...the doll cradle my dad built for me, my well-read copy of Anne of Green Gables, my dollhouse.  What I really remember from growing up are the experiences. Playing dolls with my sister for hours, riding bikes, sledding.

I hope as Evie grows we can try to limit the distractions. The shiny, fast, noisy things that want to take her attention and instead we can keep her imagination strong. I hope she reads everything Roald Dahl ever wrote and plays house, and makes up dances in the living room, and invites us to her blanket forts.     She's got her whole life to learn to use an iPad.

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