Minimalist Parenting - Christine K. Koh - Book Summary
This book is a general practical guide on how to minimize your schedule, de-clutter your home and simplify your life in different aspects of having children. The process is specific for you and very general. After each general rule - the authors add examples from their own life. The book is full of ideas that can be used for everything, in different spans of life - including child education, money, marriage and more, to allow to pick and choose. First - define your family values - what is important to you, to your spouse and to your children children. When choosing an activity, buying things or enrolling your children to classes - you want to make sure they enhance your values and that you love adding it. You should not spend time and money to be “perfect” or compete with other families, or just because you feel you have to - to make sure your children will not miss anything. Once you remove all the clutter you can focus on quality time with the family, free play and enjoy yourself while watching your children grow.
Don’t over research - Find what works among a limited set of choices and trust your “inner bus driver” (=instinct), and not all the “helping” voices around you. It’s enough find the good enough solution among a few plausible options. If you need an expert advice to shorten the process - do it.
In order to know what you should so with your time - look at the past month: what did you do? was it too much? Too little? which activities you want more of, and which less? what is the golden number of activities that feels right for you? When are you more productive during the day?
Work with a TODO list and calendar - make sure to put *everything* on your calendar - including travel time, shopping list, errands, etc.
Use rituals and routine to tackle chores like laundry and cleaning (autopilot).
Set an End Time for your day, and engage with recreation activities to wind down.
When working - do not multitask, do the hardest thing first, and add padding to your schedule to allow cooling down between tasks. Pause before saying yes to new activities. Give yourself and your spouse transition time, to leave the work behind.
Divide the Work between you and your partner in the Way That Makes Sense for You.
Schedule family time, one-on-one time with the kids, quality time with your partner and Free Up Alone Time. Organize your support network (babysitters, grandparents) - that can help you or even trade help with other parents.
Give Your Kids Chores and Focus First on Effort, Then on Results.
De-clutter your home - and keep only the things that you and your family love.
Spend money only on what’s important to you - only things with meaning and long-term gain (investments). Track your cash flow (money in, money out). Make sure to save for an emergency, collage and retirement. Reduce your spending, and if you can - increase your income.
Save money by Doing it yourself instead of buying, save money on food by prioritizing ingredients, buying in bulk, and planning each week’s meals in advance. Reward yourself for keeping your budget and prefer second hand stuff.
You should let your children play on their own. Less toys equals more play. Toddlers can enjoy house work as play. In playdates, outdoors and the neighborhood teach your children how to be safe and share, and give them space.
In terms of education - school isn’t everything. Treat life as a learning experience - and let your child explore. If your child is happy and engaged - he is learning - regardless of her grades. Make sure your child is curios and asking questions - by introducing new foods, new places, reading newspaper and books together and doing different activities together. Encourage Responsibility and Independence in your child.
Make your expectation of your child clear and integrate chores and expectations in the schedule. Remember that the child’s homework is his own responsibility.
Don’t serve snack to your child - instead make healthy food at home accessible, and set a time limit - so everyone will be hungry for dinner.
When preparing meals - keep it simple. Invest more only if you enjoy it and it is a priority. freeze leftover, and serve it in the next few days and when the schedule is busy. involve your family when planning meals. Shop once a week and make a list.
Make sure to take care of yourself - in terms of exercise, styling, minimizing your own things and so on.
(There are many, many more recommendations in the book, and on the website at http://www.minimalistparenting.com/).