Last week I devouring a well written book called:
Simplicity Parenting: Using the extraordinary power of less to raise calmer, happier and more secure kids. By Kim John Payne
If you’re like me, I always worry that I'm not doing ENOUGH for my kids.
Am I reading to them enough?
Do they have the right educational toys?
Are they missing out on important extracurricular activities?
Are they disadvantaged because of my lack of awareness or time?
This book is so reassuring that often - what both parents and children need in order to feel connected and have the space to flourish - is to do less.
I honestly kept breathing sighs of relief as I listen to the author eloquently provide his case on the advantages of creating a simple life for our children and also for ourselves!
He talked about how most of us live very overloaded life which are so stressful and hectic.
This overload has many profound and real implications for our mental, physical health and the quality of our relationships with our kids.
So what is the antidote to this overwhelm and stress? Simplify.
This messaging is in sync with my work with mothers - I focus on three areas - nourishment, nervous system calming and also…simplifying life.
This book is adding a lot of depth to my understanding of why simplicity is so nourishing and essential for our own bodies for also for our children as well.
The author talks about four different areas of focus:
1. Simplifying our environment.
Decluttering, removing most toys that interfere with deep, imaginative and natural play of children.
Ditching all the extra “stuff” reduces our mental load and anxiety as well as parents because we need to tidy and manage it all too.
I’ve always tended to be as minimal as possible with toys and things. But after the last toy purge I did while reading this book, the level of play my kids have been engaging in with wooden clothespins, pipe cleaners and simple dress up clothes has been astonishing and inspiring.
I feel better and calmer in an uncluttered space and I can see that my kids do too.
2. Create a predictable rhythm to your day-to-day family life.
Children need structure within their days, otherwise they can’t focus on engaging in play and learning. It’s the same with adults too - our body and nervous system need rhythms and some sense of structure.
Start with creating small routines around repetitive events. Mealtime, getting ready for school, bathtime, bedtime.
When our brain and body know to expect from the day, we are better able to relax and deal with the chaos that comes within those anchor points.
3. Schedules - don’t overload yourself.
We all need space and padding in our day and week to relax, breathe and unwind.
Children need protected unstructured playtime which is highly important for them.
As adults, we need time and space as well. If you’re finding that you don’t have any breathing room in our life or time for things that you enjoy doing - then you are also chronically overscheduled.
It’s not being entitled or selfish to schedule in “UNscheduled” time for yourself. In fact it’s essential to your health and wellbeing too.
4. Protect your peace from the outside world.
The author talks about protecting your children from the stress that adults feel living within our fast-paced world and also excessive amounts of information and stimulation that we’re constantly exposed to.
Our brains are not designed for constant stimulation. The research is pretty clear that excessive stimulation, screen time, etc. is not healthy for kids.
For mothers with young children, I would argue the same. Our nervous system and brain are wired to be more perceptive and sensitive to stimulation, threats and danger in our environment.
So this means that war, pandemics, mass shootings, environmental disasters, tragic accidents and breaking news stories hit us in a deeper way.
Also social media can be a beautiful thing, connecting, informative and uplifting. But it can also be shame inducing, and anxiety provoking if we don’t have the boundaries around what and how much we are exposing ourselves to.
Being more mindful about the information we’re taking in is an important step as well.
I highly recommend this book to all families - especially if you're struggle to cope with your daily demands or you’ve noticed your little one(s) struggling at all with problematic behaviours, emotional regulation or attention issues.
I really love the key message that when we are struggling - often it’s NOT about what we can do MORE of, it’s about simplifying and doing LESS.
Let me know your thoughts and if you’ve read this book before!
Your dietitian doula
P.S. - Want to dig into this more with a coach? Struggling to do life and take care of yourself the way you know you need?
I support overwhelmed and stressed out moms feel calm and energetic again by teaching them how to nourish and support their bodies.
Send me a message to chat or check out my group coaching program: https://www.amymarshall.ca/balancedmommethod