Book review: ‘Simplicity Parenting’ by Kim John Payne with Lisa M Ross

The premise
The subtitle of this book is ‘Using the extraordinary power of less to raise calmer, happier and more secure kids’. Written by an Australian social worker, it focuses on simplifying children’s schedules, home environment, and range of choices in order to free them from the confusion and overwhelm which come from having too much stuff and being too busy.

My response
Having bought this book because I agreed with the basic premise, I was keen to see how much of it was transferable to the adoptive parenting situation. I think the calmer, more structured and streamlined environment the book proposes could be very helpful to adopted children making sense of their new household and routines.

When you simplify a child’s “world”, you prepare the way for positive change and growth. This … is especially important now because our world is characterized by too much stuff. We are building our daily lives, and our families, on the four pillars of too much: too much stuff, to many choices, too much information, and too much speed. With this level of busyness, distractions, time pressure, and clutter (mental and physical), children are robbed of the time and ease they need to explore their worlds and their emerging selves.’ (p5)

What I found particularly useful
Some persuasive arguments on reducing ‘screen time’, especially for very young children; limiting the number of toys to reduce overwhelm, and not presenting children with more choice than they can handle.

A general parenting book, with nothing specific to adoption, but still has a lot of offer to parents who want to avoid exposing children to ‘sensory overload’ and to build helpful rhythms and rituals into family life.

Have you read this book? Or do you have another one to recommend? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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