My children are minimalist kids. They don’t need much to be content because that is how we have operated as a family.
I guess lots of toddlers are minimalist, right? Give them a toy and they play with the box. Give them cups and kitchen utensils in the bathtub and wallah! Best bath ever.
Sometimes kids are who they are regardless of how hard we try to manipulate them. But we can do our best to set an example as partners and filter the madness around us.
The Beginning Of My Minimalist Kids
You’ve probably seen that viral video of the child who gets a knife and cutting board for Christmas. He hides his disappointment and thanks his mom respectfully. “I can’t wait to use this to cook meat for you.”
Then the parents surprise him with his real gift, a gaming console. He weeps with happy tears. He was so full of genuine gratitude. It makes me cry every time.
And I thought, I want my kids to be that grateful for what they have.
Fast Forward A Few Years
It’s my first born’s third birthday. We took him to a huge store prepared to let him pick out one toy, anything he wanted.
We walked around. He picked many things. He’d play with something sitting in the cart happily for a few minutes, then modestly ask to put it back. He did this repeatedly for an hour.
We left with nothing and he was as content as can be.
Tips For Raising Minimalist Kids
To reiterate… kids are who they are. I used to think they were shaped solely by environmental factors until I had two kids who were completely different. We can be an example and teach as best we can.
But don’t beat yourself up if your kid doesn’t want to share his ball at the park or screams when they don’t get a toy while grocery shopping. They will probably grow out of it. It’s ok. All moms go through that.
Here’s My Tips For Raising Minimalist Kids
- Keep holidays simple. We don’t go nuts on birthdays either. Sometimes my son gets envious when we go to extravagant birthday parties. But I have seen how kids, including my own, get overwhelmed by too many new things. Not wanting to keep opening because they’re happy to play with the first gift. Or forgetting about the first when they see the second.
- Go through toys regularly. Get your minimalist kids accustomed to letting go of things. Out with the old, in with the new. You could even teach them about charity by donating, or financial responsibility by selling.
- Detach from items with your kids. For myself I found often times I was more attached to things than my kids were. Artwork, baby clothes, toys attached to memories. Keep some favorites and go through them once a year. Take photos that don’t take up the space.
- Say no and say it often. Special occasional treats are wondrous. But its not special if you get a treat every single time you go to the store. Filter the magic and the gifts so everything they get is more meaningful and exciting.
- Practice minimalism around the house and in the rest of your lives. Be the example for your minimalist kids. Don’t just exhibit minimalism with physical items. Do it with electricity, water, driving, time, food, schedules… Minimize all areas of your life.
- Don’t use things or food as rewards. Again, occasional treats are perfect. But if they expect a toy to be motivated to reach a milestone you are setting them up for failure later in life.
Follow these practical tips to help raise your minimalist kids. Practice minimalism in all areas. Teach them to love people and not things. Reward them with affirmation instead of toys and be easy on them when they have a hard time letting go.
Raising minimalist kids is ultimately gearing them up towards a life of gratitude. Having less makes you appreciate what you have more. Minimalism is about shedding the extra to appreciate what’s really important. Raising minimalist kids starts with us.