Simple Living at Home

I’ve been working on simplifying clutter, toys, and distractions in my own house lately. I’ve blogged before about Kim Payne’s book “Simplicity Parenting” and the view that so many if our kids, especially those with attention, processing, or regulation difficulties, need a simpler environment. My munchkins seem to benefit from a calm environment, and sink deeper into imaginative play when left with just a couple of toys to let their stories run wild.
We have a small house, and with two kiddos I’ve noticed that toys seem to multiply! It can be a never-ending battle. Our MOPS group just did a spring cleaning Swap N’ Drop, with the extras being donated to the Northwest Children’s Outreach. A great excuse to purge a few toys!
Here are a couple shots of our living room and my attempts to simplify the toys left out.



It doesn’t always stay this neat, but at least it’s manageable pickup once the girls are done playing.
I’m curious, how do others manage the toy situation at their house? What are your child’s favorite toys for imaginative play?


The Big Experiment

In an effort to simplify our life and downsize our budget, we recently embarked on the “Big Experiment” in our house:  eliminating cable.  Partly as an effort to make sure our time together with our busy schedules was truly a time of connection.  Partly because the cable around here has gotten ridiculously expensive.  And partly because, as a therapist working in a child development field, I felt I needed to at least try to “practice what I preach.”

In general, we didn’t let our daughter watch television before we axed the cable.  But the television was often on during the weekend, tuned to the latest sports game.  At night, after our daughter went to bed, my husband and I would watch a show or two.  After all, after a long day of work, when you really need to relax, some mind-numbing show can do the trick!  But the thing we’ve noticed over the past two months or so is that we don’t really need it.  During the day my daughter is playing or reading books.  And at night, my husband and I can actually talk to each other, and there is always the internet to stream our favorite show (“Parenthood”).  Every few weeks we will sit down on a Friday night for a “date night in” (yes, we are getting old, people!) and watch several episodes of Parenthood.

Personally, I have loved the change.  Yes, I have only one child, so giving her attention throughout the day isn’t as difficult as it might be for a bustling family of five or six.  And yes, I supplement my “screen time” with the internet and my iPhone, but also with books, magazines, baking, and conversation.  My husband has also taken to The Big Experiment, reading, talking, cooking, and getting more sleep.  (As it is, I will have a hard time convincing him that this change should be a permanent one come college football season in the fall.)

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