Less is more This applies to nearly everything in our children’s environment – their toys, clothes, choices, experiences, gadgets and sensory stimuli. De-cluttering the environment and limiting children’s many choices is very powerful. The less complexity we provide; the more attentive and creative they become, and the fewer battles we have to fight as parents. This can be achieved through culling toys, buying fewer clothes and providing a home that filters out constant stimuli. Establish healthy rhythms Children thrive on the predictability that rhythm provides as it gives them a sense of security. A child that wakes up in the morning and knows exactly what to expect throughout the day is far more resilient, less anxious and more confident than a child who does not what to expect from one minute to the next. Rhythm helps children to order their physical, emotional and intellectual view of the world. A little island of consistency such as, the regular cup of hot chocolate at the end of their school day or a daily sit-down dinner with a lit candle, a morning prayer, etc, provides children with an anchor. Filter out the adult world Eliminate external stimuli that could be harmful for our children. The 24/7 access to media means that our children are constantly exposed to adult directed news and inappropriate commercials, whether it is at home or on their way to school. Far too early, children learn about terrorism, sex, violence, and graphic human suffering which they cannot handle emotionally. They overhear our anxious conversations and feed off our emotions. This makes children anxious, hyper-vigilant and eventually, desensitized and disconnected from the emotional world of others. We can limit harmful media exposure by setting clear boundaries, have set TV and Internet viewing times, wait to watch the news until the children are in bed and singing songs in the car rather than listening to mainstream radio. Simplifying is about stepping back, re-evaluating life and giving us the courage to say “No” without feeling the pressure of conforming to society or the ever nagging parental guilt. Eliminating unnecessary stimuli, providing sanctuaries of calm and establishing healthy rhythms not only foster more harmonious relationships and makes for happier children, but also benefits those who display behavioural problems. Parents often find a subtle positive behavioural shift happening when they give their children space, love, reassurance and attention. Simplifying grounds children, it allows them to develop at their own pace, relying on their inner resources. The long-term benefits of simplifying are self-evident. It is never too late to implement changes and simplify our lives. The earlier we start, the better the chances are that our children develop into healthy, self-motivated adults who are resilient, empathetic and compassionate. About the Author Susanne North is a Family Educator and Certified Leader of the Simplicity Parenting movement. For further information or to attend one of the Simplicity Parenting information sessions, please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org. To obtain a copy of Kim Payne’s book Simplicity Parenting, check out his website for further inspiration.