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Decluttering Guide 3: Minimalistic Parenting

Minimalism ends up in less stress and more me-time. This is why I was attracted to the term ‘Minimalistic Parenting’. It helped me during this difficult phase of lockdown and social distancing.

As I started my journey towards minimalistic parenting, I was shocked with a revelation. I generally buy my kids 2-3 books and some games every month. They receive around 25 different types of games on their birthday every year. Apart from this they attend different birthday parties (at least 2 per month) where they receive different types of return gifts (mostly small games, balls or crayons, etc). This way the entire kids room is overflowing with stuff. And on the top of that I have to listen to -‘Mummy bore ho raha hai, tv dekhu?’

What the heck!!

Believe me same is the case about their dresses and jewelry. The wardrobes and cupboards are overflowing and they still are not satisfied, as they want a new frozen book or a frozen bag. I see this as a serious problem of plenty. How do I implement ‘Less is new cool‘ here?

How do I implement minimalistic parenting?

Minimalistic parenting should result in less possessions and more time. This means more me-time for you as parents and more time for your kids too! So where do I start?

I had to start with decluttering the existing stuff. The entire stuff went – different piles – ‘Discard’, ‘donate’, ‘give to cousin…’, ‘keep’. The ‘Keep’ pile had to be very effectively selected and kept aside for future use. This way I was successful in achieving some organisation to the chaos created and making room for actually necessary things. So my immediate problem was solved.

But still the question remained – How do I maintain this? How can I keep this simplified forever? Is minimalist attitude even possible when it comes to kids?

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As I went to researching further, this is what I found out –

1. Prioritise life lessons as a step to minimalistic parenting

What would I want my child to learn first and foremost? If I am able to answer this question, then I am able to prioritise all the life lessons I want to give my kid and then probably I will stop pestering her over petty issues. Isn’t it simple? Just stress on the important things and let everything else go.

2. Prioritising material things

Secondly, I need to ask myself these questions every time I buy a new thing for them –

Is this item absolutely necessary? Is it a gift or a reward? Will it give them happiness? Is this what he / she really wants? Am I ok with her using this item?’

All these questions will make me stop and think before buying an article that is absolutely of no use to my kids. Saving on a lot of money as well as clutter!!

3. Cleaning up their own mess

As far as kids are concerned, it is always better to go with the flow. It’s a fruitless effort to tell a parent to be patient, because seriously kids know how to kill your patience!!

But still I would like to reiterate – let them do what they want to for a while. Then teach them to bring it back to normal.

My younger kid loves to paint with water colors and she makes unimaginable mess in her bedroom. Shouting at them does not help. All you need to teach them is clean after they finish. Advantage – you both end up being happy!!

4. Simplify their schedules

As far as minimalist parenting goes, we also need to stop sending them to number of classes, workshops, etc. Let them enjoy on their own. Too much of a strict schedule leaves their brain completely  worn out to think anything creative. Let them have some extra time on hand – let them be bored – it will breed creativity!!

This minimalist attitude will take time to sink. Give yourself and your kid a break if things do not immediately turn out to be ok. You need to patiently teach them why these habits are important. You can yourself set an example and slowly inculcate the habit in them.

There will still be problems and issues while dealing with this and many other things. Think of it as an adventure. The crux is to relax and enjoy this time with our kids. They are never going to be this cute age again.

Try implementing this and let me know whether you can make some sense out of the chaos!! Enjoy!!

Read Part 1 here; and Part 2 of Decluttering Guide here! Part 4 of Decluttering guide deals with Minimalist relationships and you can read it here

Happy decluttering!

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