I am all about the simple things in life. Simple doesn't mean easy, it just means uncomplicated. The simple life is a pursuit of the things that really matter by removing or diminishing the things that don't. It looks different for every family, so take what is useful to yours and discard the rest.
2. Rotate toys daily.
3. Have less clothing.
4. Have one colour of sock per child.
5. Let them paint on recyclables.
6. Teach them to do chores.
7. Let them help you with your chores.
8. Sing hymns together while you work.
9. Pray with them.
10. Pray for them.
11. Read Grace-Based Parenting.
12. Read Simplicity Parenting.
13. Smile at your kids when you speak to them.
14. Have a Daily Rhythm.
15. Don't expect perfection from them
16. ...or from yourself!
17. Fill a basket in the fridge with simple, healthy, kid-friendly snacks. Let the kids pick their own snack from the basket at snack time.
18. Read to them from the Little House Series.
19. Make or buy some story time pillows.
20. Encourage them to play outside every day.
21. Label toy baskets and clothing drawers with pictures instead of words for pre-readers.
22. Confiscate any toys that they fight over. Consider donating them to your church nursery or a local pregnancy crisis center.
23. Keep a pile of kitchen towels in a place the kids can reach so that they can clean up their own spills.
24. Expect them to eat what you are eating.
25. Use page protectors to make activity pages reusable.
26. Eat messy treats on towels on the kitchen floor. Or better yet, outside.
27. Let them get dirty.
28. Prioritize. Let go of the things that don't matter.
29. Tweak. Change things up until your system works for your family.
30. Have a place for everything.
31. Have less toys.
32. Have more art supplies.
33. Consider ditching the television. (We don't have a television, but we do watch dvd's on our laptop)
34. Encourage them to make up plays in the living room.
35. Sit down with a bowl of popcorn while they perform their plays for you.
36. Let your daughters play dress up in your fancy cloths.
37. Make up silly songs.
38. Do the chicken dance.
39. When possible, choose sturdy, well crafted toys that delight the senses and encourage creative play.
40. Make them up-cycled painting smocks.
41. Use your local library.
42. Keep a separate basket or bin for library books so that you always know where they are.
43. Keep a binder full of quiet time activities and simple craft ideas.
44. Let your toddler play with a metal mixing bowl and a wooden spoon.
45. Teach them that they are in control of their emotions.
46. Teach them that they are responsible for their actions.
47. Tickle them. Lots.
48. Teach them how to make polite dinner table conversation.
49. Create a meal plan.
50. Keep a list of simple meals for hectic days when everything goes wrong.
51. Every once in a while, choose to believe that potato chips are a veggie.
52. Read Toilet Training in Less Than A Day. It worked wonderfully for my two oldest daughters.
53. If #52 doesn't work, relax. I promise you they won't go off to college wearing pull-ups.
54. Add a couple marbles to a container of cream and let them shake it into butter for Thanksgiving dinner. Not only are they learning something and contributing to the meal, they're happily occupied while you prepare the rest of the meal!
55. Have a buy-nothing Christmas. I dare you!
56. Teach them to sleep through the night. When you figure out how, let the rest of us know.
57. You can use the same size sheets for the crib, play pen, and (folded in half) the bassinet.
58. Plastic cups are the best bath time toy ever!
59. Grow a garden. Digging in the dirt is good for the spirit.
60. Invest in a few kids cd's that won't drive you absolutely bonkers.
61. Let them help you decorate cakes and cookies.
62. Enjoy free and nearly-free seasonal activities in your community. Visit parades, agricultural fairs, and corn mazes.
63. Keep only their best artwork. Store it safely so that they can look back on it someday.
64. Use non-toxic cleaning supplies so that the kids can safely help.
65. Barbecue more often. I can't explain how this simplifies things, it just does.
66. Core apples like this.
67. Pin baby socks together like this.
68. Decide not to care what strangers at the supermarket think of your parenting.
69. Don't let comparison steal your contentment.
70. Occasionally insist on a Saturday with no plans or to-do lists.
71. Learn to go with the flow.
72. Make your own play dough.
73. Explore your own back yard.
75. Go for a drive in the country. Answer their questions about the cows and the horses and the barns.
76. Go for a drive in the city. Answer their questions about the buildings and the noises and the people.
77. Tell them about when you were a child.
78. Teach them that they are not allowed to bang on the door while you are in the bathroom. This is life changing!
79. Photograph them outside,un-posed.
80. Keep paper and crayons in your purse or the van.
81. Keep an extra set of clothing for the entire family in the van. You may never need it, but if you do you will be really glad that you took my advice.
82. Apply the "HALT" method to your parenting.
83. Turn cardboard boxes into castles and cars.
84. Watch (age appropriate) documentaries together.
85. Watch the entire What's In The Bible dvd series together.
86. Wait until the kids are in bed to clean up their messes.
87. Or clean in little spurts throughout the day.
88. Enforce the "One in, One out" rule. Every time your child receives a new toy or clothing item, donate an old one.
89. Make planned-overs (intentional left-overs so you don't have to cook the next day).
90. Double your favorite recipes and freeze half for a hectic day.
91. Give your children simple, handmade gifts.
92. Use the Alternative Gift Registry to encourage simple, meaningful and practical gifts for holidays and life events.
93. Write a family mission statement.
94. Write a mission statement for your home.
95. It is perfectly acceptable to spend sick days sitting on the living room floor watching entire seasons of The Berenstain Bears.
96. Set goals.
97. Stop trying to do every great idea you see on pinterest.
98. Take lots and lots of pictures. These days will slip by quickly.
99. Don't get so wrapped up in the simple things that you forget to be a little over-the-top sometimes.
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