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Payne and Ross have done something in this book that all books about simplifying or minimalizing our lives should do: they don't just dissect ways to de-clutter our homes in a guilt-producing, over-taxing sermon, but instead, gently point out the whole gamut of ways that our lives our over-cluttered.

Our time, our routines, our meals, our clothes and books and toys -- all the over-committed, over-burdened ways we have stretched our lives are having a negative impact on our peace, and even worse, on our children's peace.

They liken it to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, created not by a single shocking incident, but by a slow, insidious drip of heightened stressors.

That old story about the frog being heated up in a pan of water ...

Coming from a Steiner background, Payne really makes a lot of sensible observations about how children play when their toys are fewer, their books are carefully chosen, their clothing is limited; how much easier life can be made with a menu plan; how much calmer when there are blank spaces on the daily calendar.

It was a meaty book without being smug or preachy or padded, and probably is my favourite book so far this year. Highly recommended.
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on 7 February 2012
I cannot put this book down - it is one of the most useful and helpful parenting books I have read. My only regret is that I did not read this book when my children were younger - would have saved a lot of money on tons of books and toys which provided 5 minutes of entertainment at best. The book makes wonderful suggestions for building a lifestyle to allow your children to flourish in the critical period of childhood. I think this should be required reading for all parents
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on 10 July 2011
I came across this book by chance when another Amazon customer mentioned it in a review of a different title. I love it! I really like the writing style: it's informative, encouraging, sensible but not at all 'preachy'. I haven't yet tried out all of the things it suggests, but did do a MAJOR clear out of the kids' playroom nearly a month ago, just leaving a few games and well-loved toys (I stored the stuff elsewhere and have given them the option of swapping things in and out, but they haven't wanted to do that yet). The change has been remarkable. They are much calmer, playing together (and with me) much more frequently, they can see what they have to play with and choose to play games rather than blob in front of the telly, they're keen to keep the room tidier... Basically, all of us feel much calmer. I wish I'd read it when I was pregnant and never got into the pattern of buying too much stuff, feeling that they always need to have things to do / be entertained etc.
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on 26 November 2011
This book is a welcome oasis in the plethora of parenting books that are little more than controlling behaviour techniques rather than really addressing why our children are behaving the way they are.

Too much...TV, Adult World, Clutter, Toys, books, need to achieve, Schedules, schooling, lack of calm, peace, empty moments, moments to just connect and be with our children...aaah what a novel idea

I personally have followed the simplicity parenting guide, and was so inspired I have gone onto to do the Simplicity Parenting Group Leader's training. My hope is that this movement away from the consumerist, more more more culture we are raising our children in will gradually shift to a less hectic and more natural rhythm and pace for our kids.

Buy this book if you are willing to be a radical pioneer in shifting childhood away from being something that is bombarded by consumerist attitudes and more towards something that relates to the needs of the children themselves.
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on 23 January 2011
I really enjoyed this book. If you are a busy parent and you want to slow down and really enjoy your children, it is a good book to read. It talks about decluttering childrens rooms and the less toys the better. Too much TV and computer games are not good, so if you are not prepared to cut back on tv and computer games, it's not for you or maybe it is, as it will explain how this can really improve your family life.
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on 24 February 2011
What I liked the most about this book is how it raises awareness among parents of how complex our lives have become and how that is affecting our children. Too many screens, to much time spent on the Internet, the TV, texting people, expecting phone calls, e-mails, having to keep up with the latest news and the latest consumption demands, all of this is just turning everyone into extremely anxious stressed heads. The beauty of this book is making us aware of this very modern phenomenon and giving parents sound advice and tips on how to create moments of peace and relaxation for both themselves and their children. It highlights the importance of creating a calming environment within the family so all the busyness and bustle of the outside world doesn't get into the souls and minds of our little ones. This book is about protecting and cherishing childhood rather than bombarding it with all the demands of the modern world. I fully recommend it.
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on 14 April 2012
I have never written a review before but this book has inspired me to encourage others to read it. It's written in such a refreshingly unjudgementle and fluid way. It really has inspired me to change our families ways and not just for the sake of the children - but for the mums and dads to. I never even realised how much stuff we had accumulated. I feel freer. Please read.
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on 25 January 2014
I've just finished this book and just had to leave a review. I had not even heard of the concept of Simplicity before reading a brief reference to this book, but it all makes such sense and is not the cranky or cult-like idea I thought it might be.
What a fantastic book. Our son is only two and actually, it made me realise that in general we're doing pretty well in the way we're running our home at the moment, but it certainly made me acutely aware of where it could all start to go wrong as he gets older, so I read with a red pen in hand and will refer back frequently to check we're still on the right track.
Well written, and fascinating, this book could help sooooo many friends of ours... It's just how do you tactfully recommend they read it?
So much that is written is absolute common sense, once it's been pointed out, yet almost everyone we know would benefit from reading this book. I'm just grateful that I stumbled upon the brief reference I saw. It's changed how I will now approach so many aspects of our life.
Do yourself a favour and read, and absorb, this wonderful book.
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on 21 October 2011
You know how they say babies don't come with a manual? Well, from now on, this book should be given out to all parents in the Delivery suite. Quite simply - it's brilliant. Forget hundreds of toys, the need to constantly amuse your kids and keep them entertained, forget the idea of shuffling them through their busy after-school schedules and forget even the idea of 'educational' toys and books - most of all, forget telly. If you can give your kids time, space, calm, a few basic things they can play with that engage their imagination (e.g. paper and pencils), a good home routine (which creates stability), inclusion in everyday tasks (e.g. setting the table) and a few family board games then you've cracked it. This book gets you back to basics. Kim John Payne writes brilliantly and illustrates his point with real-life stories from his 20 year practise in the field, and as a parent, the love for his kids is apparent. Look no further than this book if you want to raise ... well, exactly what it says on the cover!
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on 24 March 2013
Brilliant book, easy to read and follow, some great one liners that have stuck with me and seem to surface during the chaos of my day with my two year old toddler, that remind me to go back to basics, and how important that is for all of us. Highly recommended read for anyone who needs grounding and feels like life should be a lot simpler than it is.
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