Every day I imagine a life with less.
Like most of us, I am a busy person, often over stimulated by the things and people in my environment and rarely give my family and myself the luxury of slowing down. Maybe that is why I am the exact person who should be writing this post: Simplifying my family’s life is something I work on every single day.
I read a lot about it.
I think a lot about it.
The thing is changing behavior takes time and practice.
Simplicity Parenting Guiding Practices
- Learn to Say No – I read a phrase recently that sums this one up: “Dial back the schedules allowing for time and connection with your child.” I over commit and over schedule my life. I am getting much better at it but prepare to feel a bit lonely and isolated at first, at least that has been my experience. This transition takes time.
- Purge – By far one of my favorites! We’ve moved twice in the last year and I was thrilled to purge, purge, purge. Not easy to do but believe me when I say: “you will not think about those ‘things’ you give away, consign or (gasp!) toss into the garbage.” Start with the “things” that actually make you unhappy. You don’t like looking at them or they are broken for example.
- Rotate – Once you’ve purged all those things that make you unhappy and your home cluttered, when it comes to your children’s toys: rotate, rotate, rotate. You and your children will be much better for it, I promise.
- De-clutter by way of Stimulation – Removing the “things” from your environment is a phenomenal first step but go beyond that step. Think about how you can decrease the stimulation in your life by changing the lighting and the sounds of your home. Maybe the television can be hidden or in a separate place to avoid being the center of the home, for example.
- Find Balance – Whether in spirituality, nature, exercise or whatever way you personally find balance
- Be Proactive – Think about tomorrow the night before. Do the things you need to do to make your morning and your day go a bit smoother. For me, that means I always make sure to load the dishwasher and run it, for example. I always put at least one load of laundry through the washer and dryer. I also lay my boys clothing out and prepare our bag if we’re going out with snacks, clothing, etc.
- Practice Positive Discipline – Ever get tired of saying “No”? I have days when I feel so negative from being so negative with my boys disciplining them all day long. I feel drained and I am unhappy. Positive discipline has changed our family’s life. Instead of “No, you can’t have a cookie” try saying, “Yes, you may have a cookie after dinner.” Or “If you would like to climb, let’s go outside or find a safer place.” Or “Wow, you really want to jump and move your body. That is great but please do it on the ground. The couch is meant for sitting and being still.”
- Read Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
- Step away from the Devices – I have a really hard time with this one. When I make it happen though I see a real transformation.
- Find Alternatives to Time Outs – These moments are opportunities for your child to learn and to know that he is supported by the people who are the center of his world: his parents. Give a “break” to take some deep breaths is a great idea. Shutting a child down when he is most amped up can lead to a lot of confusion for the child. He isn’t contemplating his actions during a time out, he is wondering if his parents love him.
- Eat Well & Drink Plenty of Water
- Find Your Family’s Rhythm – Read Soule Mama’s Rhythm of the Seasons
These are all easier said than done, right?
I’ll take you back to my disclaimer at the beginning: “changing behavior takes time and practice.”
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