5 Minimalist Parenting Tips (Episode 217)
I've been on a "simplify parenting" kick, really focusing in on those things we do that complicate our lives and add more stress that are completely unnecessary.
Last week, we addressed having social "quickies" to open the door to socializing without the stress of blocking off a whole day for a big event. A while back, I read another blog post about how to parent like a minimalist, and I loved the tips she laid out.
In our efforts to provide for our children and give them a full life, sometimes we load up every moment so that it leaves them drained, cranky, and overwhelmed. As you give your children more in life, does that equate with less energy, sanity and peace in your home?
"In families, the calm lies in balancing the needs of each individual while simultaneously tightening the strings that hold them all together."
Giving our Children everything
We've all heard that "less is more", yet saying it and living it are two different things. Especially as a new parent, we try to cover our bases, ensuring our children are comfortable and entertained all the time. I've been breaking down the pressures, from not having to entertain our children all the time, to simply connecting with others minus the elaborate production.
5 Tips to live more by doing less
To parent like a minimalist, it's not just decluttering. Yes, eliminating clutter is an essential part of minimalism, but it's not just the clutter in your home. It's the clutter in your head and heart as well. It's filtering out the noise to focus on what is truly important. Minimalist parenting means weeding out the clutter of obligation, stress, drama, unnecessary to-dos, etc and allowing for some white space - both literally and figuratively in your home.
#1 - Entertain Less
This was our focus two episodes ago, as we talked all about how we don't try and entertain our children all the time. Boredom is a-okay in our book, as it opens the door to innovation and creativity.
Be careful about screentime, and think twice about going down the Pinterest black hole of comparisons and craftiness. Think about how a coloring book may open the door to a child building fine motor skills, yet ultimately, a true artist is creating their own art, not coloring in the lines of someone else's. With screens and Pinterest ideas, are you simply pre-packaging all the entertainment to be presented in a certain way?
Entertain less, and watch your children innovate and create more.
#2 - Buy Less
On that same note, buying fewer things means there is less to be overwhelmed by, less decisions to be made, and more opportunity to create on your own. One glaring truth I realized when we hit the road full-time was that sibling spats seemed to be in direct relation to how many toys they were navigating. When we hit the road and reduced their toys down to essentially a few stuffed animals and art supplies, their entitlement and ownership became less of a focus, and more collaboration came to the forefront. There are options beyond toys to get children excited.
Buy less, and watch your children experience gratitude for what they have, and explore more.
#3 - Schedule Less
In our jam-packed schedules, we rarely make room for down time and recovery.
When I learned to pace my energy-sucking activity to a reasonable amount each day, some days I cover a lot because it's lower energy, other days I'm doing one big public thing and I know that's all I can handle. Pay attention to the personality styles in your home. Do you have someone who really needs to recharge after socializing? Packing in a picnic, parade and party in one day is most likely way too much. Balance those things that pull your energy with how you are going to recharge. Rest is so, so important. For our physical and mental health, it's vital we not only breathe out all that productivity, but we breath in rest and recovery.
When I start to feel that unease in my gut of too much on my plate, I have gotten more and more comfortable with really asking myself, is this absolutely necessary at this exact time?
Schedule less, and experience stillness and calm with no agenda.
#4 - Referee Less
I know how easy it is to jump in and manage an altercation with kids. With both Nathan and I having a background as preschool teachers, we know how to redirect and eliminate battles to keep the peace in a group.
However. Are you really helping your child if you're the one problem-solving every interaction? Disagreeing with someone is rarely perfectly smooth and easy. It can be awkward, clunky, and uncomfortable. It's an important skillset to be able to navigate. Instead of refereeing for your children, try asking them questions and sharing tools for negotiation vs. doing it for them.
Referee less so your children learn to navigate and problem solve on their own.
#5 - Hover Less
And finally...stop hovering. I read an article that stated this:
"We spend so much time protecting our children, we forget to let them live. When we hover over them and perseverate over safety, our fears can undermine a child’s confidence. These fears rob them of their independence. Instead of hovering, let’s instill a sense of responsibility and natural curiosity for the world." (Denaye Barahona)
Can you pull back and let your child simply be? No one has shown me this lesson better than my youngest, Juliet. Having the same personality style as I do, she and I both can default to anger as our main emotion when we get frustrated or upset. The last thing in the world either of us need is someone hovering around trying to make us happy again.
Juliet has shared about what all she does when she gets mad in some previous podcast episodes. In my pulling back and giving her space to be angry, she worked through what tools would help her most. And now, as I stay back and give her space, I'll often hear her belting out her feelings in Broadway-style singing, as she re-centers herself and lets her emotions flow.
Give your children the space to test out the tools for independence that will best help them thrive. Hover less, so they can truly live more.
Your Weekly Challenge:
This week, pull back. Do less so you can live more. Don't hover, schedule, entertain, buy or referee this week. What would life be like if you eliminated these five things for a week in your home?
Add in down time. White space. Uncomfortable moments of fumbling through how to work things out on their own. Boredom. See what may spring out of it.
Don't get so lost in the doing that you forget you are a human being. Just be. Allow others to do the same. Rest. Give space for others - including your children - to show up how they want to, and let them learn through trial and error what best gets them what they want. It's in those uncomfortable interactions and times of not having everything planned out that we really step into who we want to be and what impact we truly want to have.
Celebrate something small in each one of your family members this week. Appreciate a creative moment, or when they problem-solved on their own. We each have a different beat to our drum, and when we can give respect to the various rhythms, we can celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste.
- What Is A DISC Personality Assessment?
- The Unschooling Parent (Episode 194)
- Juliet Talks Feelings: Wisdom from an 8-year-old (Episode 165)
- Head Clutter and The Chaos of Overwhelm
- Minimalist Family, Clutter Loving Friends (Episode 60)
- Clutter Is Simply A Postponed Decision (Episode 19)
- Are You NOT Entertained??!! (Episode 212)
- Simplify Childhood: Quickies Aren't Just In the Bedroom (Episode 216)
- How do I equip my kid to “adult”? (Episode 89)
- Ashley Logsdon, Relationship Coach
- Do You Force Your Children To Learn? (Episode 215)
- Does Your LIFE Have Seasons?
- Why I Believe In Functional Education For Our Future…and what that even is
- To Build Resilience, Let Them Bounce (Episode 36)
- Personality Styles
Questions or comments?
Personality styles, marriage/intimacy, parenting, education, minimalism or travel - what is pressing on your mind?
Or, hop on over to the Unschooling Families FB group and ask your question there!