Oct 4, 2018

Minimalist Living With Kids -- Is It Even Possible?

Modern parenting is hard. Most of the time you don't really know if you're doing it right, and the Internet will always be there to tell you exactly how you're doing it wrong. In recent years, the minimalist movement has exploded in popularity, but this trend is rarely discussed in terms of parenting.

While childless urban hipsters may be able to go minimalist without any problems, can parents also adopt a scaled-back lifestyle? What would minimalist parenting even look like?

While parents do need a certain amount of stuff by necessity -- car seats, toys, clothes, cooking supplies, and so, so much more -- there are some ways you can transform your lifestyle. And if you're looking at this post, then you're already thinking that you want to change.

Living a minimalist lifestyle relieves stress and changes your perspective. When you add children into the mix, you're working to create better human beings that will one day create a better world. You can, of course, do this without going full-on minimalist. However, many parents are actively teaching their kids to prioritize relationships and experiences over material things, which is what minimalism is all about.

In particular, Americans are very materialistic. Most U.S. households contain nearly 300,000 individual items. A lot of kids grow up glued to screens and spend very little time outside. Living minimally helps children look beyond the material and into their imaginations. It also teaches them important life skills like cleaning and caring for the possessions you do have, budgeting and buying only what you need, and taking control over their life.

Psychology studies have regularly proven that clutter causes stress. When you don't feel like you're in control of the mess in your home, you feel like you're not in control of your life outside the home. Minimalism allows you to regain that feeling of control. That same feeling transfers to kids.

Are you ready to live a minimal lifestyle? Here are some steps parents can take.
  • Talk to your kids...
    Don't expect to go into your child's room and get rid of half their toys without giving them the benefit of knowing why. Involving your kids in the initial purge process will help them psychologically cope with the change and get on board with your new lifestyle.

  • Start with you...
    Again, kids can be possessive of their stuff. Start with your possessions, then show them what it looks like to get rid of the things you don't actually need. They will pick up on your positive attitude and it will make the process infinitely easier.

  • Go on adventures...
    One of the biggest core aspects of minimalism is that experiences are better than things. You can start that behavior right away. At your child's next birthday, give them tickets to a fun event you know they will enjoy or give them an "all about you day" where they can choose where to go. The important thing is to have fun spending time with them.
Once you begin the process, you will see your whole life brighten. You will feel as though a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders. So while you might not be able to go 100% minimalist until you have an empty nest, you can start making positive changes right away.

Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn't lost in a book or writing, she's busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.

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