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How to Practice Minimalism When you are a Parent

practicing minimalism

How to Practice Minimalism When you are a Parent

When you become parents, you want to give kids the entire world! Yes, you feel that your children ought to have everything that you never had. Of course, this comes from a good place and you want what’s best for your kids.

This could be more vacation. More gadgets. More outings. More clothes. More toys. This is because we want to provide them with the best of everything.

This turns into a feeling of guilt when we are not able to do something for them. We may not always be able to afford that vacation. When we see our friends taking their kids out and uploading photos of the wonderful holiday they have had, we feel that our kids have missed out on the fun and feel guilty.

You may worry about not being able to spend enough time with them and taking care of work and home. If you didn’t land a spot in that coveted school, would you be putting them at a disadvantage in their education?

There is so much guilt and fear that comes from a place of love, trying to do everything, be everything that you will only end up feeling less; Less happiness. Less energy. And definitely less calm.

It is the time of affluence, after all! Everyone seems to be in the pursuit of earning more, wanting more and spending more. More than they will ever need anyway! And the worst part is that parents are passing on to their children. But is it working? No! Kids are not satisfied even with twenty vehicles they own; they want more. No amount of soft toys is enough; they are miserable if one is missing from their collection.

If the kids are not satisfied no matter how many toys, gadgets and other stuff they get, it is not their fault. It is just a reflection of the adult world they see around them.

How common it was in our childhood to wear clothes passed on from an older sibling, books bought from an old bookshop or passed down from a friendly neighbour and so many other stuff used till they got really old and then they were refurbished or thrown away reluctantly only when they were beyond salvaging?

Most things were bought only when there was a need and was taken good care of. But now we simply buy stuff whether we really use them or not. It may give us that high for a few days after we purchase the stuff, and then? We are just filling up our homes and the land and water bodies of the world with all the waste.

 Most of us have enough stuff to actually give away and last us for years. This is why we need to practise “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. But there is another thing that you can do well to adopt -Refuse. Refuse to buy things you don’t really need!

So, if you are wondering what can be done; for one, you can practise minimalism. “Less is more” is a Montessori way of approaching things. Let’s look more into it and see how we can adopt it in our parenting style.


Why Less is more in Parenting

Parents want to micromanage every aspect of a child’s life. They want to pick the activities the children will be involved in, which friends they should mingle with, children will not get to learn, explore, make new experiences, and figure stuff on their own.

Less is definitely more when it comes to parenting!

You must model good behaviour, guide them and teach them good values. But they must not step in to resolve every conflict, help with every assignment, pick what sport will be beneficial for the child. When you fight every battle for your kid, you are showing them that they need help with everything and they will not know what it is to struggle for something.

Parents these days want their children to avoid failure, pain and struggle. While this may come from a place of love, don’t you want your child to taste the happiness and pride that comes with overcoming their struggles and achieving something?

What is Minimalism?

The more things we have and choices we have to make, the more is our physical and mental stress and anxiety as well as discontent.

Minimalism is not about buying and owning cheap stuff. It just means getting rid of all the clutter and excess in one's life and shifting the focus only on what is necessary. Being a minimalist doesn’t mean living off the grid; you can leave bang in the middle of a busy city and still be a minimalist.

Remember, what seems extravagant to one person may be the bare minimum for another. Only you get to decide how to be a minimalist. When you practise minimalism, you are filtering out all the noise and clutter to focus your energy on what’s important.

People today live extremely busy and noisy lives. If you want to find some calm among the noise and make life simpler, minimalism is the answer.

Instead of competing with other kids and wondering what toys you can buy that your child doesn’t have, what activities to set them to that your neighbour child is doing like a pro, and where to take them to after seeing that lovely family vacation picture that your friend posted online, focus on spending quality time together.

Simply performing day-to-day activities and chores like running errands, buying groceries, doing chores is enough quality time though it is unplanned and unstructured. It may not be fun or educational, but does everything have to be!

The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is very much real. You may feel your child is missing out on things other kids are enjoying. But they aren't! We are strongly against leading the child from one activity to another. Make less scheduling and allow your children some rest. Also, take your child’s interest into account before you schedule a class or activity for them - something they will enjoy doing or are good at.

The benefits of Minimalism

Minimalism is for people who are grappling with too many distractions and noises. It can help them focus on what is important and valuable to them. Instead of piling up on stuff, the focus is to get fewer durable items, have more utility value without compromising on the quality.
  • Less material stuff to take care of and less space in your mind for all the things that need doing means you get better clarity on the important stuff.
  • Makes life less chaotic and simple. The fewer clothes you buy, the more space in your wardrobe. The lesser the number of stuff, the easier it gets to put them away after use.
  • Saves time and energy to do other things like spending time with your child, exercising, painting and whatever you want to do!
  • Clean space and a clear mind will have you focus on your work better.
  • You are teaching your kids to be sustainable and be mindful of what they consume. This is only good for the planet and the environment.

How to parent like a Minimalist

There are a few things you can do to adopt minimalism in everyday life.


Quality over quantity

When there are too many toys at home, children get overwhelmed. Toys that are too flashy or noisy, with too many movements can be overstimulating. There is not much play to be had with these toys either.

You can ditch these toys for open-ended toys like rainbow stackers and pretend play toys like kitchen sets that provide hours of wonderful fun. Wooden toys are a lot more durable and can be passed on to friends, siblings and neighbours kids, and even generations!


Refuse stuff you don’t need

That flower vase, that extra pair of glittery shoes, a soft toy, that newly launched phone, a showpiece you couldn’t take your eyes from, that jar for storing groceries - all look fine at the store. We may have bought it for ourselves or to give to others. But are they serving any use at home?

You should evaluate the things you buy and see if you have any use or value for them before you get them home.

Invest in long-lasting stuff

Items of top-notch quality last for years, even a lifetime! Spinning tops are toys that everyone will love, even adults. Ever tried spinning a top after spending a lot of hours at the desk? You should, it's exhilarating and soothing! Wooden teethers, particularly themed ones can also be enjoyed by older kids and not just infants.


Fruit Themed Wooden Spinning Tops for Kids
Spinning tops from Bumpy Rides

Reduce screen time

Screentime is a passive way of keeping children engaged. Parents don’t talk as much when they are watching a show with children. When we run out of ideas to keep our kids engaged, we turn to screen time.

Then of course there is Pinterest and Instagram with their endless suggestion of activities to do with kids. We are constantly looking for ways and means to keep children engaged in productive ways that children virtually look to parents to provide them with entertainment.

What you can do is cut back on screen time. Yes, go ahead and make that paper boat or paper plane, but also, allow your kids to be bored at times. This way, they will come up with their own means of entertaining themselves. This will unleash their creativity and imagination in ways you cannot imagine!

Value experiences over materialistic things

You should value-creating experiences like taking children to a natural sanctuary, taking a dip in the river, going on a trek to the mountains, a walk under the stairs just enjoying each other’s company and sharing one meal together. There are all ways to spend some fun and happy time together. All of these and a whole lot more can be done without buying, accumulating and piling in more stuff.

Simple building blocks or fitting puzzles can be a great way to keep them engaged and bond with them.

Mindful consumption, buying quality stuff that can be passed around and from one generation to the other, valuing what is bought, experiencing togetherness as a family unit and with friends - these are the kind of things that can help us lead more contented and happy lives.

We wish you the best in all aspects of decluttering!

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