I have read many parenting books over the last six years. I use them as a tool every so often to re-ground myself when I feel that I am losing or have already lost my way a little (or a lot) with my parenting. I rarely read them all the way through, just until I find my way through whatever is happening within our family! That is until recently when I started to read a book that resonates with my long-held values about being a mother. I am reading 'Simplicity Parenting' by Kim John Payne and it just hit me between the eyes! I don't think that I will read any of the others again now that I have found this one!
The first thing that this book jogged my thoughts about was the amount of toys that are available to the girls. Until recently they didn't have toys in their room, I preferred that they played downstairs and that their rooms were restful and simple and just for sleeping. They do now play upstairs and it works as they began to need their own space sometimes for a quiet play and that is hard to facilitate with one downstairs room for all of us and having the girls home all day. It had got out of hand though and there were so many things that the girls couldn't keep them tidy and weren't really playing with them properly as they were pretty mixed up. I had a huge clear-out and took lots to the charity shop, some was thrown out and some put by in the garage to swap when a refresher is needed!
The girls haven't noticed that anything has gone, they noticed the space, the tidiness and the toys that remained. Each has a space all of their own so easy to find and easy to put back. It re-invigorated their play and removed the stress of getting them to tidy up! They can find all of their favourite things and having less hasn't dented their amazing imaginations one iota - it has given them space to fly instead of stifling them.
I always did believe that open-ended toys were best and that less was more, just somewhere along the way I allowed more and more to creep in. Why? Partly due to being a childminder and feeling pressure to have 'resources' to satisfy Ofsted, and partly due to me needing 'things' to occupy the girls with sometimes whilst life was happening! I am hoping when I'm back to childminding in January that I can keep hold of the streamlined version of resources and build the level of creative play in other children that my girls have!
Time to digest the next part of the book!