I finished this book last night, and I really can't say enough good things about it! The author has a master's in education, specializing in Waldorf. He has worked as a school counselor for 18 years and as a family counselor-therapist for 15. He did some work in refugee camps in Asia, and has done most of his work in the UK and the US.
This book shares many of the same basic ideas that the last two books I read (Beyond the Rainbow Bridge and Living Simply with Children). However, this book takes the best of those books combined, without inserting a lot of personal opinions, and instead explains why parents should do certain things based solely on the author's knowledge of child development. I really like a book that is backed up by concrete research, and this one is.
Payne believes that our society today is raising kids with:
Too much stuff
Too many choices
Too much information
He believes that growing up like this has many negative consequences for children that will affect them both now and as adults, including raised cortisol (stress hormone) levels, a sense of entitlement, difficulties in making decisions, difficulties with paying attention, a lessened ability to be adaptable to new situations, less security, less imagination, and overall, fewer feelings of well-being and inner peace.
His solution is to simplify in these four corresponding areas:
1- Environment - primarily this deals with reducing the number of toys and books surrounding your child, thereby reducing the choices they must make on a daily basis
2- Rhythm- creating a rhythm do your days, weeks, and seasons, so that children gain a sense of security - they know what to expect and who is in charge
3-Schedules- creating a healthy balance between organized activities, free, unstructured play, and rest
4 - Filtering out the adult world - limiting media exposure as well as adult conversations
There is a lot to be discussed here, so I want to break it up into more than one post. In the next few days I will go more in depth into each of these areas and will share how I have begun to implement them in my own home.