Simple parenting fills your family life with countless benefits.
Simplifying your child’s life will not only protect them and make their life less stressful, it will benefit you as well. When our kids feel overwhelmed, we feel overwhelmed too.
It's a powerful way to show your kids love and strengthen your family connections.
As Lynne Newman told us,
Simplification takes courage and persistence. It takes imagination and trust. It’s not for the faint at heart, especially in our modern world, but it’s do-able.
Embracing simple parenting is one aspect of pursuing a minimalist lifestyle.
We know minimalism is more than just about decluttering our closets, but can be applied holistically to our family's whole lives by getting rid of the stuff we don't need. This includes too many toys, too many activities and too much exposure to stress and chaos.
How Simple Parenting Can Benefit Your Children
Reduce the clutter and the chaos
Fewer toys create less chaos for your kids and opens up their imagination more than superficial play.
Try these three organizing tips to get started:
- Get rid of broken toys and toys with missing pieces or parts.
- Remove toys that limit your child’s imagination (ones where you push a button and it lights up or makes a noise).
- Give away toys that your child hasn't played with in a few months
Of course, always keep your child’s favourite toys. Once you've removed excess books and toys create a toy library to rotate the toys on a regular basis.
Our kids should be aware of what’s going on in the world around them, but in an age appropriate manner.
The National Institute of Mental Health suggests that our brains don't fully mature until our mid-late twenties with the frontal lobe being the last to mature. That is the part of your brain responsible for judgment and decision-making. This means that children can't process adult information in the same manner.
Exposing them to upsetting world news can be a source of worry and stress over a situation they can't fully comprehend and rationalize. Watch traumatic news after your kids go to bed and you have private adult time for conversations. Simplifying the types of information they receive will help to reduce your child's anxiety levels.
Shut down tech time
One of the toughest parenting challenges we face is reducing screen time. Studies show that rapid image changes on a screen, when viewed by children at critical periods of brain development, precondition their mind to expect high levels of stimulation.
Teach by example and minimize your own screen time. When you’re with your kids, turn off your phone’s notifications. Have set times to check your incoming emails and messages so you’re not distracted during quality time with your kids. Try to focus on being present in the moment with them, even if it's for 20 minutes.
If you need help with reducing your family's screen time, try our gentle 7-day digital detox.
Spend time rather than money
Resist the temptation to express love for your child with a gift. Instead, spend quality time with your child.
Give hugs, read stories, and have playtime. Perhaps use this time together to incorporate some mindfulness meditation exercises into your time together.
Show them every chance you get how much you love them with your time and attention; welcome moments of slow parenting into your routine.
Minimize schedules to maximize creativity
One study compared how children spent their time in 1997 compared to 1981. The results found that children in 1997 spent less time playing and had less free time. They spent 18% more time at school, 145% more time doing homework, and 168% more time shopping with their parents.
Now, 20 years later, with tech part of the childhood landscape and people busier than ever, it seems probable that free time has even more significantly diminished.
With kids being overscheduled with one practice or another, they're constantly stimulated. A child who doesn't know how to enjoy free time will always be looking for external stimulation, activity, or entertainment.
Prioritizing free time over organized activities fosters creativity, self-reliance and happiness.
All children can benefit from simplifying their life, but those children who are more anxious, sensitive or rowdy, can especially benefit from the ease and sense of safe routine it provides.
Simplifying your child’s life will not only benefit them mentally and emotionally, it will make them happier and healthier as they grow.
P.S. Read how to set up a simple morning routine for school days.