5 Books that Changed my Parenting: Book 1 (Book Giveaway!)

In my opinion, there are far too many parenting books--Amazon lists over 43,000 available. I've read a scant two or three dozen of them; about five of those have truly impacted the way that I parent my children. Over the next few weeks I'll profile each of those five books. Read on for more details about today's book and the giveaway.

Today's book is Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne with Lisa Ross.

Kim John Payne has counseled families and children for twenty years, so he recognizes the difficulties associated with life in American culture. This book offers insight and practical solutions in the face of too much stuff, too many choices, and too busy lives.

Here are three simple points from Simplicity Parenting that have stayed with me:

1. Limit toys to those with 'staying power.'

Reducing toy clutter allows children more opportunities for imaginative play. Commercialized plastic playthings actually inhibit creativity (compared with open-ended toys). Not yet convinced? Check out the information at Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. In his book, Payne offers a ten-point checklist of toys to eliminate. (My post about a toy purgatory basket is a simple solution for removing toys over time.) If the idea of taking away toys seems dreadful, read Why I Took My Kids' Toys Away: One Year Later from Living Well Spending Less.


2. Establish a rhythm for each day.


Knowing what to expect and having time to process experiences promotes relationships and personal growth. Payne finds an interesting connection between simplified home rhythms and decreased food and sleep issues in children.


3. Pulling back on scheduled activities helps a child build identity and willpower. 

Payne gives convincing arguments that high external stimulation over time leads to dissatisfaction for parents and children. Beauty exists in ordinary days and the possibilities they hold.


All of us struggle to tune out the cultural messages that tell us to do more and have more. Re-reading Simplicity Parenting helps me stay off the cultural treadmill and experience more days of peace and contentment.

For a chance to win a copy of Simplicity Parenting, simply comment on this post by Monday, September 23rd, 2013. I'll choose a random comment and post the book giveaway winner here.

The winner is Ken, with his comment number chosen at random by my daughter. Congrats, Ken! 

What family habits or truths do you follow to maintain sanity and promote family unity? Which books have influenced your parenting choices?

You may also be interested in reading about other books in the series 5 Books that have Most Changed My Parenting:

* Disclosure: If you purchase this book through my Amazon link, I receive a small percentage of the profit through the Amazon Affiliates program. I did not receive any incentive from the publisher or author for writing this book review.