belated weekend report: simplicity edition

October 13, 2015

We did . . . very little this past weekend.  I will get to my Simplicity Parenting review later this week*, but one of the main tenets is to avoid overscheduling children, and to let them have lots of time for:

a) unstructured active play
b) creative play (where they have the opportunity to enter into a ‘flow’ state)
c) restful time (not just naps, but quiet time at home to allow for recovery)

Annabel continues to present some challenges — as I believe all 3.5 year olds probably do, but she seems to be particularly strong-willed & feisty — and I decided that maybe some relaxed time at home would help.  Plus, I have been feeling really good this month — working on honing mindful habits, meditating & journaling every day.  Surely I could enjoy a relaxed weekend, “just be”-ing with A&C . . .

. . . and then reality set in.  Actually, that’s not fair — there were a lot of lovely unstructured hours, and I DO feel that I was more present and aware around them.  BUT at their current ages (3.5 and almost 20 months), it’s not like sitting there being mindfully aware is remotely possible — for more than 30 seconds at a time, anyway.  A asks for things, C climbs up on things, A has to go to the potty, C just spilled something — etc.  AND despite the wide swathes of open play, there were plenty of behavioral challenges.  A’s current mode of attention-getting is to beat up on C, and that’s just no fun at all.**

I had booked a babysitter*** for Sunday afternoon, and spent 2 hours napping, about 30 minutes reading, and went on an easy (hot) run.   I had planned to do work, but this downtime was SO necessary and SOOO appreciated!

* Call-permitting – today is day #1/7!

** Working on strategies to STOP this.  Unfortunately, time outs do not seem to work well for us.

*** Josh was on call and at work for 95% of the weekend

What “doing nothing” looks like with a 1.5 and 3.5 year old:

I’m still doing really well with my October goals, so I’m really hoping I can keep things up through call!


  • Reply omdg March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Hey! That’s what my "doing nothing" with Dylan looks like too! Sometimes we get really lucky and she plays quietly with her toys though, and that is simply glorious. I do recall that having a young toddler basically required that we get out of the house each day for all the reasons you describe, lest we go crazy. I can’t imagine the challenges that having 2 would present.

  • Reply Young March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    I need to check out that book. I had to check myself earlier this week when I realized that.. oops.. I was starting to pack in too many activitiee for the weekend. It’s hard to find the balance, though.
    I love that cookie monster outfit. Too cute!

  • Reply Laura Vanderkam March 10, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    I think, like much in parenting, there is no one way. Age may also come into play here. My 8-year-old could be turned loose all day in the house and would find ways to entertain himself. There would be screen time, but he and the 6-year-old have played legos for hours at times. The littler ones, not so much. In general, if it makes your life easier, I’m all for it. If it doesn’t, there better be a darned good reason to do it

  • Reply middle_class March 10, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    I think unstructured play gets easier as kids get older. However with younger kids, sometimes unstructured play ends up being me chasing them around and telling them to get off the table. Recently we’ve started scheduling outings more often and it seems to help reduce meltdowns and boredom.

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