Saturday, March 10, 2012
If I had the ability to make this blog a bit more sophisticated, I would have on my sidebar books that I recommend. Recently, I have been reading a book called Simplicity Parenting, which I'm enjoying. It's written by a person with a "Waldorfian" outlook on life. He has four tenets for helping children defy the rush of the modern childhood. His basic premise is that less is more. Simple, right?
The first thing he attacks is the problem of an overabundance of childrens' toys and stuff. He does this not to just get you to declutter, but so that your children's choices are easier. He argues it is overwhelming for small children to have to dig through mountains of toys to decide what to play with. He advocates getting rid of all plastic toys, all "character" toys, all developmentally inappropriate toys, and all battery toys,. In the end, you should be left with about 10 toys for your kids to play with in addition to two baskets of toys that are covered with a simple cloth.
I decided to attack our toys and I got rid of anything that was broken or missing pieces and lots of plastic. I also screened out toys in duplicates. I took two large boxes of toys to the Goodwill today. I did leave some plastic toys intact and I kept things like puzzles, board games, and cards. But, we did a nice clean so that we could see what we have better. I also kept many of their dress-ups, which he encourages having as well.
He comments on the fact that in about 1950 Mattell and other toy companies came into being. Before that time, children had few toys because they were not mass produced. As we know, now plastic toys can be made so cheaply that they proliferate. One of the joys of this process was that Addie found a simple cloth doll. (He argues that so many of the Barbie dolls end up being broken because Barbie's can not do anything. They come intact.) She has been dressing her doll, we got out the old cradle that was for my dolls when I was a little girl, and Rosie (just named this week) has even gone with us to the YMCA in the carseat. How much fun it has been to see her discover something buried in a basket and derive some real joy from it.
The author advocates the same things for books, but I can't bring myself to do that. I guess I have too much of a bibliophile outlook on life than to look at books as consumeristic for me or for the kids. But, overall the library purge was a good one and brought out results that are in keeping with some of his observations and work with children over the years.