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3 Ways to Try Simplicity Parenting

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What’s the key to simplicity parenting? Leaving room around the edges of your child’s life. Here’s how to visualize what that means. There’s a neighborhood in my town where land has become very valuable. The first houses were built there in the 1920s and still sit on lots with plenty of space for front yards, back yards, and even side yards. But that’s not the case for the newer homes built since this neighborhood became more popular. People have torn down the old houses and built huge houses that take up just about every square inch of land available. There is no breathing room.

Now think about that image as it applies to simplicity parenting. Simplicity parenting allows a child plenty of room to grow, explore, and learn in an environment that’s not packed with planned activities, screen time, and accelerated learning. The simplicity-parented child sits on a lot with room to breathe. Try these 3 ways to practice simplicity parenting.

1. Bring back margin.

Take a look at your child’s day-to-day life. Where’s the margin? Where are the spaces where he or she can just be a child? Is there any margin after school or on weekends? If there is no margin or very little, see where you can push back to expand it. Here’s how to decide which activities should stay and which should go. 

2. Bring back free play.

I remember when a friend of mine complained about the new recess routine at her children’s school. “The kids used to get free playtime where they could just run around on the playground,” she said. “Now the school has started using this time for team building and organized games.” Children need time to explore in an unstructured environment. Carve out these times and protect them from screens and electronics. Get a stash of Play-Doh, board games, and lots of sports balls for playing outside. Let your children explore unstructured play in these areas: social play—playing with others; constructive play—building with blocks, writing on the sidewalk with chalk; fantasy play—make-believe born of abstract thinking; and games with rules play—follow the leader or Simon Says.

3. Bring back “just for fun.”

It’s great for children to take part in competitive sports or other competitive activities, but it’s also good for them to do things just for fun. Every moment of their day doesn’t need to be filled with learning new skills or improving the ones they already have. Moms of toddlers, keep this in mind as your kids start showing interest in dance, soccer, or another activity. Sometimes playing at home with family is just as fun as getting on the field with other kids.

Do you have any simplicity parenting secrets?

ASK YOUR CHILD...

If you had 30 extra minutes of free time a day, what would you do besides screen time?

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