A minimalist family lifestyle provides many benefits for kids, and they often thrive on simplicity. A calm environment allows them to be more creative and lessens the chance of becoming materialistic.
Minimalism looks different for everyone, but at its core, it relies on finding meaning and purpose to everything you own and getting rid of everything else.
Being a minimalist with kids may seem impossible at times, but it is achievable.
Here are some ways to make it happen in your home and help everyone in your family buy into the lifestyle.
1. Prioritize Experiences
Material possessions will be used for longer than an experience will last, but memories can last a lifetime. Families tend to be much happier when they purchase experiences rather than material items.
Prioritizing activities over things instills the value of making memories with your children and how much more meaning they can bring to your lives. This could look like giving tickets to a museum as a birthday gift in place of a new toy or doing a Chopped at home cooking challenge instead of buying an Easy Bake Oven.
Learning the importance of activities is essential in children’s development. Too many physical items in a room can cause overstimulation and lead to stress, which can trigger anxiety and cause kids to react with bad behavior or shut down completely.
With fewer physical items to distract them, children can utilize their imagination and make memories through creative play. The experience of playing make believe with your kids will be much more meaningful than playing the latest video game.
2. Downsize and Declutter
A minimalist lifestyle encompasses the theory of living simpler, ensuring that everything has a purpose and getting rid of everything else. If it doesn’t bring you joy, you should probably ditch it.
Walk your kids through the process of decluttering, allowing them to decide which of their toys or clothes brings them the most happiness.
If you go through their possessions and throw things away without their approval, they could build up resentment towards both you and minimalism.
It may take some time for them to learn what it means for something to “spark joy.” They may have a lot of toys that look fun in the moment. Be patient with them as you explain that some items are more meaningful than others.
Consider setting boundaries for yourself and your family so you don’t accumulate too much stuff after you’ve undergone the decluttering process. Think about letting something else go when bringing a new item into the house.
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3. Organize Everything That’s Left
Everything in your home should have a designated space. It is much easier to clean up and teach kids where to put things when everything has its place. Having your family help you tidy up can teach them about responsibility and the drawbacks of having too many possessions.
For example, if fewer toys were in the house and each child has a designated place to put their toys, the playroom would be much simpler to clean up.
Ensuring you communicate why you want to live a more minimalist family lifestyle is essential when kids are concerned. Their young minds rapidly absorb information and try to make sense of it so providing examples they can understand (like less cleanup) helps them learn.
Keeping things organized will also help you take inventory of your belongings and ensure they don’t get out of hand.
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4. Emphasize Quality Over Quantity
One challenge you and your family will face on the road to minimalism is the desire to keep up with the latest trends.
For kids, this could mean a new device or clothing trend that all their friends seem to have. When your kids come to you asking to buy into the newest fad, have a conversation with them about whether they really need it.
Don’t immediately say no to their request. If they’re asking for an expensive pair of shoes, for example, consider whether that might be a good investment. If their feet have stopped growing, maybe that higher priced item will last them longer than a cheaper pair.
Weigh the pros and cons to decide whether the purchase will benefit your kids, or if it will simply create clutter.
To start this process, ask yourself some questions to check in with your mental state.
Are you taking care of yourself? Are you spending quality time with family? Are you taking time to engage in hobbies or exercise?
If you answer “no” to some of these questions, it may be time to reevaluate.
Identify what is distracting you from the meaningful parts of life. It could be watching television, worrying about your physical appearance, or trying to keep up with the latest technology or fashion trends. Share your answers with your children so you can all work together to live a simpler life.
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5. Practice Seasonal Living
Every season brings a new way of living. When spring arrives, you bust out the shorts and tank tops in preparation for summer. Then, you get out coats and sweaters when winter is about to come. Teach your kids to appreciate the seasons and what they offer.
Seasonal living is being mindful of the present and intentionally tuning into the sacred cycles of the changing seasons. Your whole outlook can change when you embrace and align with nature instead of resisting it. Celebrating the months is a way of honoring them and creating a more minimalistic lifestyle for your family by eliminating things that no longer serve you or your family.
Practice purging wardrobes after every season and instil this habit in your children so they can carry it into adulthood. If you didn’t wear it this summer, donate it.
This also applies to other seasonal things like sports equipment and decorations. Keeping your kid’s summer sports equipment in their closet year round just makes it feel overstuffed. Instead, rotate the stuff between active use and seasonal storage to have a more streamlined everyday experience.
Once kids develop this mindset, it can serve them throughout their lives.
6. Hold Yourself Accountable
Holding yourself accountable can be essential to living minimally, especially if you’re just beginning.
It can be challenging to resist the temptation to buy new things when you’re accustomed to living that way. Similarly, it can be hard for children to understand why they can’t get a new toy every time they go to the store if that’s what they’re used to.
Writing down your purchases or keeping a log book can help you in your minimalism journey.
Remember that you are trying to set an example for your children. Ensure that you explain things to them clearly so they can grasp the concept of minimalism and gain some perspective on why you have chosen to live this way.
Your minimalist goal should be shared by the whole family – and it should benefit everyone.
The best way to develop minimalist family values is to lead by example. You can’t tell your kids to buy fewer toys when you continue to buy unnecessary home decor. Start by cutting back on your own unnecessary spending to show them that it’s possible to enjoy life with less.
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7. Family Support System
Losing focus is not uncommon, whether you decided to live minimally to create more experiences with your family, declutter your life or be more eco-friendly.
Reflect on why you started this journey whenever you feel like you’re slipping. Sharing these thoughts with your kids can benefit their minimalist mindset and encourage them to stay on track.
Suppose you are struggling to find your purpose. It’s vital to self-reflect and search for meaning that will provide personal fulfillment. Think about the things that have energized and drained you and instruct your kids to do the same. Put more emphasis on the positive and try to eliminate the negative.
This can teach children to be more optimistic and focus on their goals. It can also provide perspective and increase their appreciation for the familial support system you share.
Purge any physical possessions your family no longer wants or needs. Don’t lose sight of why you began living a more sustainable and minimalist lifestyle, and lean on your family for support when you lose focus.
Inspire your kids to apply minimalism in all areas of their lives, ensuring they understand what that means and why they should abide by it. Practice what you preach.
Practicing Family Minimalism
Living minimally isn’t an easy task when you have a house full of kids. However, it has many benefits, including saving money and allowing kids ample room to grow and develop. Evaluate the reasons why you want to raise a minimalist family, and begin your family’s journey to a simpler life.
Author Bio: Cora Gold has a passion for living a happy, healthy and mindful life. As Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine, Revivalist, she aims to inspire others to do the same. Follow Cora on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
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