Keeping it Simple

Written by Mandy on December 6th, 2013

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Attachment Parenting, Balance, General, Parenting Philosophies

Life with kids can quickly get complicated, especially if you listen to what the media and marketers want you to believe about what children need or should be doing. It doesn’t have to be like that.
Keeping It Simple - Natural Parents Network

Keep it Simple with Stuff

Those hundreds of items that baby registries tell you a baby needs are mainly just to make money. You don’t need all of that stuff, and your children certainly don’t either. The marketing continues through childhood, and with other people, the stuff can take over. Keep the items which are of quality and add enjoyment to your life. The rest is just clutter – cluttering up your home, cluttering up your life, and making more work for you. All of that stuff has to be picked up and put away. It needs to be moved to clean. If it isn’t adding anything significant to your life, let it go.

Keep it Simple with Schedules

Schedules are a big problem when it comes to older children’s activities. I’ve heard from too many parents who were afraid not to put Little Johnny in the next activity on the list for fear that he might have talent which could go untapped, because some other kid would have a better resume, or because someone they knew was pressuring them. Life is short, and the time you have with your children is even shorter. The fact is, your child can’t do everything, and if by some chance, you could squeeze in every possible activity, they would never be able to master every activity and become an Olympic winner in every category, a virtuoso on every instrument, and a science and math award winner in the nth degree (pun intended), along with the collection of novels they wrote. Childhood isn’t a finish line to see how many checks you can accrue on some list or to become an expert in something, unless that something is their own self. Childhood is a time when kids get to learn new things every day, explore the world around them, and figure out who they are and what they believe. That takes time – that same time that many children are spending being chauffeured from one activity to the next before falling into bed.

Keep it Simple with Activities

Family activities are a great way to spend time with your kids, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money to do it. Cook with them. Read with them. Go hiking at a local nature center. Play a board game (and there are fun board games which won’t have you wanting to hit your head against a wall!). Design something. Garden. Build something. Talk to them, and most importantly, listen.

Keep it Simple with Family

Really, what your children really wants is to spend time with you. Make certain you are getting that time, whether it means spending the weekend or an evening as a family or making the decision to homeschool. Whether you are a stay at home parent, work at home parent, or work out of the home parent, you are foremost a parent, and your children are waiting for you. Don’t let other things get in the way.

Keep it Simple with Love

It may not be all you need, but love will get you pretty far. Are you doing things you don’t love? Are there things you can cut out of your life? Are there items or activities that are emotional or physical drains? Are you spending time doing what you love, with whom you love?

Life doesn’t have to be hectic and crazy. We tend to do that to ourselves. When we start keeping it simple by cutting back to what is really important to us, life suddenly becomes much more enjoyable.

This article has been edited from a previous version published at Living Peacefully with Children.

About The Author: Mandy

My NPN Posts

Mandy O'Brien is an unschooling mom of five. She's an avid reader and self-proclaimed research fanatic. An active advocate of human rights, Mandy works to provide community programs through volunteer work. She is a co-author of the book Homemade Cleaners, where simple living and green cleaning meet science. She shares a glimpse into her life at Living Peacefully with Children, where she writes about various natural parenting subjects and is working to help parents identify with and normalize attachment parenting through Attachment Parents Get Real.

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