Simplicity Parenting

The Overwhelm of Boys Kids


Last week we welcomed Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting, to our school to present his community lecture and Q&A, “The Overwhelm of Boys.” Though the evening’s topic was ostensibly about boys, much of what Mr. Payne brought to us was universally applicable and sound advice for all children. Below, our kindergarten teacher Mr. Howard summarizes key points and helpful takeaways that we might explore, regardless of the gender of our little ones.

  • Parents should step into the authoritative space. Children, and boys especially, need to know who’s in charge. Are your children leading you or are you leading your children? Parents need to provide firm, clear and consistent boundaries. The children of today demand clarity of leadership. As Mr. Payne put it, “child-centered homes should be values-centered homes.” This is crucial for a healthy sense of wellbeing for all children.

  • Boys need more time. Typically, they require more time than girls to learn and process information.

  • Boys need to “do." Their sense of self comes from doing, making and building. 

  • Boys need to be allowed to be vulnerable and show their feelings. They need to face difficulties and be given opportunities to overcome them. All children need to be given the freedom to problem solve on their own without the so-called “snow-plow parents” stepping in to constantly remove all obstacles from their paths. 

  • Boys need to respect girls and women. They need to be taught tenderness by having tenderness afforded to them. Video game and superhero culture is perpetuating the stereotype of the invincible male. There are many sound reasons to protect children from screen time but this is especially important for boys. Exposure to this type of media usually leads to unhealthy, aggressive, “supercharged” play.

  • Boys need the space and time to understand the implications of their actions. Many children today are hyper-sensitive to their own sense of space and yet hypo-sensitive to the space of others. When a child shows physical or verbal aggression toward another, the aggressor must be given a firm message that their behavior is not ok. 

  • We must avoid detailed explanations of things when speaking with our young children. Fact filled answers to the questions of young children are too much for them to digest and deprives them of the wonder of their own imaginations. Mr. Payne suggested a criteria for what we say to children - is it true? kind? necessary? securing?

  • Boys (and all children!) need to experience being bored. Boredom is a gift. When a child comes to us complaining of boredom, one shouldn’t say much, perhaps simply acknowledge by saying, “Oh.” This leaves the child with the opportunity for their imagination and creativity to forth. Mr. Payne also stated that boredom is the antidote to “supercharged” play. We must remember that it is not the adults’  job to constantly entertain and placate our children. 

  • We must surround our children with love, warmth and beauty while being the steadfast, calm container that will hold them securely and unconditionally.

Related Articles of Interest:

The New York Times: “Boy Talk: Breaking Masculine Stereotypes”

Design for Mankind: “Four Lessons Worth Learning from Simplicity Parenting”

LifeHack: “Children Develop Better When You Let Them Be Bored, Psychologists Say”


save the date!

We hope for all parents to attend our

New Amsterdam School Community Meeting

Saturday, April 13

10:00am - 12:00pm

Childcare will be provided!


Dear New Amsterdam Families,

A new iron fence for El Jardin is just one of 11 projects to be voted on next week during District Two Participatory Budgeting Vote Week. If we get enough votes, the new fence will be one of many community improvement projects funded by $1 million from Carlina Rivera’s city council budget. Please join us this Saturday at the Lower East Side Girls Club to learn about all 11 neighborhood project proposals, vote for up to 5, and submit ideas to be funded next year. Getting our project on the ballot has been a yearlong process that included idea collection, public meetings, NYC agency feedback, and now, public voting. We’d love your help!

Anyone who lives in District Two and is at least 11 years old can vote! Bring your friends!

Participatory Budgeting (PB) Vote Week Kickoff

Saturday, March 30th

12 PM to 3:30 PM

The Lower East side Girls Club

402 East 8th Street @ Ave D


NEXT Parent Evening

Whole School Parent Evening
Wednesday, May 1


Coffee Friday
Friday, March 29

Good coffee. Good conversation. Downstairs after drop-off.

Monday Morning Eurythmy Mini-Session (for Parents)
Monday, April 1

A quick 15-minute eurythmy session with Brigida to start your week.

Monday Book Club
Book: Developing the Self Through the Inner Work Path in the Light of Anthroposophy by Lisa Romero
Monday, April 1

Grades 1, 2, + 3 Eurythmy Performance!
Monday, April 1

Led by Ms. Brigida; All elementary parents are invited to watch their children perform.

NAS Board Meeting
Wednesday, April 3

Grades 2/3 Farm Trip
Monday, April 8 - Wednesday, April 10

Whole School Community Meeting
Saturday, April 13

School Closed- Spring Break
Friday, April 19 - Friday, April 26

Campus Development

Dear Parents,
Are you interested in helping to develop our growing campus? Join us for coffee and planning next Friday morning!

Friday, April 5
Downstairs After Drop-Off


Browse our second-hand children’s clothing sale in the school lobby to support our beloved El Jardin garden. All items are $5, or 5 items for $20. Pay at the front desk.

Yoga FOR AGES 3-7!

Danyelle Vilmenay photo.jpg


SATURDAYS (3/30-4/13) 11:00AM - 12:00PM

($60, 3 CLASSES)

Led by Danyelle Vilmenay, 3-7 year-old students flow through an imaginative journey of interactive storytelling and renewing yoga poses while practicing peaceful movements, calming techniques, and gratitude. At the end of every class, students use fine motor skills to create beautiful origami art, which promotes hands-on focus and mimics nature.

in the news

“Children learn best not when a teacher or a computer feeds them knowledge, but by following their curiosity and making things, whether a sand castle or a robot. Like computer programmers, children make mistakes and solve problems along the way. If you raise and educate kids to be flexible problem solvers and good communicators, they can adapt to a world that is new.”

-The New York Times, “How to Prepare Preschoolers for an Automated Economy”

Summer waldorf courses

for Teachers and Parents

June 23-July 5

Wilton, New Hampshire


Did you know that your Amazon purchases could be raising funds for our school? Shop through Amazon Smile to easily help our school:

1. Go to

2. Choose New Amsterdam School as your selected charity

3. Shop as normal and a percentage of what you spend is automatically donated to our school! 

Belle Savransky