In my seven-week Simplicity Parenting classes, we explore many rich and important topics — clarifying our values, identifying ‘soul fever’ in our children, learning how to grow our compassion for our children when they are pushing our buttons, discovering how to simplify our children’s rooms, understanding this thing called ‘rhythm’ and learning how to use it with our families, along with so much more.

Week Five’s class is always a really enlightening one for parents. In it, we explore
schedules — our children’s schedules, our own schedules, our family scheduling as a whole, along with a look at different types of activities and how to ensure that we leave ample space for the holy grail of children’s activities: deep, unstructured play.

We have fun as we use an analogy of crop rotation to explore the different things our children do each day and, as always, we get good ideas and insights from each other (one of the best things about these classes). We spend lots of time discussing what “qualifies” as deep play, and, once we’re clear on that, we explore the best ways to cultivate time and space for it to occur. For one thing is clear about deep play: it cannot be “scheduled,” as in, “Kids, now that you’ve finished your homework, it’s time for some deep play before dinner!”

Deep play blooms in wide-open spaces (lots of time) that are pretty empty (not a lot of “toys” distracting from the real work of play) and don’t have a lot of adult involvement (“helpful suggestions” of what to play are very unhelpful to this task). Oh, and boredom is often the precursor, so we need to learn to endure that, too.

I really like this article, which makes a lot of good points, and reminds of all the great discussions that happen in that 5th class!