One thing I’ve noticed when I mention minimalism is that a lot of people seem overly concerned about the kids. It’s like the thought of my life being minimal is somehow depriving my children. But that is so far from true. Today, I’d like to talk about how minimalism looks for the kids.
Both of my kids have very typical bedrooms for children their ages. But there are a few differences that may stand out to others.
First, my kids don’t have an excessive amount of toys.
My daughter is fond of stuffed animals so she has a collection of them. She keeps them on her bed, on top of her dresser, and in some cute little decorative bins. She also has a few smaller items like Squinkies that she keeps on a shelf. But that is it. When she isn’t playing with those items, she is outside, crafting, on her iPad, reading, or playing a board game.
My son has a variety of Legos that he stores in a couple of bins in his room. He has a few stuffed animals, but not many. He also has a gaming system. When not utilizing those items, most of my son’s time is spent reading, drawing, playing a board game, or on his iPad. He is definitely my “indoor kid” and that is ok.
The kids do not have toy bins located throughout the house. During the day they are allowed to bring items out of their rooms, but they are expected to put them back in the evening.
Second, the kids’ rooms are theirs. They get to have their choice in decor.
My daughter has a very typical twin bed with bright, cheery bedding on it. She even used one of those Pom Pom Wow things to decorate the headboard. She also has a couple of pictures and a calendar hanging on the walls. And there is a dresser and a bookshelf.
My son has a futon. He loves that futon and has slept on a futon for years. He doesn’t like regular beds and has no desire to have one in his room. He has a calendar and one large picture hanging on his walls. He also has a dresser and a nightstand.
Third, the kids are taught to be mindful of what they own.
When it comes to what gets brought into the house for the children, these days we have adopted a habit of discussing their needs versus wants. I think it’s really important to teach the kids that not everything they see is worth spending money on or worth taking up their space.
Both kids have gotten pretty good about thinking these things through. Having them use their own money for a few purchases has helped. Kids get money for all kinds of things (birthdays, holidays, odd jobs) so why not let them use it to learn? Having them go to stores and spend what they’ve saved has really opened their eyes to what they actually want. I’ve watched them both think long and hard before making purchases.
Most recently, I stood in a Game Stop for over an hour while my son debated whether or not to spend his money on a new WiiU game. He just stood there staring at it, clearly thinking. When asked if he was ready, his response was, “Almost. I just want to be sure.”
I’m proud of him for that.
And my daughter recently spent some of her money on an item she has wanted for over a year. A large stuffed caterpillar that she saw in Nevada and then saw again here in Wyoming. It was something she truly wanted and she saved her money to get.
Minimalism is teaching the kids to think before spending – it’s a beautiful thing!
When it comes to minimalism and kids, it’s a lead by example scenario. I have minimized my life, my husband has minimized his, and the kids see us feeling more relaxed and happy and want to be that way too. They are watching us think through purchases, say no to excessive garbage, and find more time and money to just be free to have fun.
Minimalism is bringing a sense of peace to the house.
In fact, recently we did another declutter and my son pointed out how much more at peace he felt.
So minimalism done my way in regards to the kids means teaching them that they can be happy without spending large sums of money and having every toy known to man. It means showing them through my own actions how life can be full and happy with less. It means allowing them to have their own spaces in the house, but with an understanding that those spaces don’t have to be overdone. And it means spending more time together (actually interacting) in fun places, doing fun things, rather than just going out to stores and buying our way to temporary pleasure.
*I didn’t add my usual pictures because the kids are also afforded a certain level of privacy. Their rooms are theirs. It’s important in this internet age that we respect our kids as humans.