Minimalism with kids, where do I start? In a way I find this topic a little hard to talk about.
Not because minimalism with kids is hard but the exact opposite.
Minimalism has always been a part of my life. So it has always just came natural to me not to own a lot of stuff.
The same goes for my kids. Clutter is something that has always bothered me. So much that I have always gotten rid of things rather quickly.
I joke in a lot of my posts that my mom calls me “the most throwingist away child ever” to this very day she calls me this. This led to me thinking many times something was wrong with me. Even though she was joking… a majority of the time.
Did I have OCD or some other disorder? Why was it that I hated clutter so much?
Turns out there was nothing wrong with me. I just like things to be minimal. That’s all.
It wasn’t until last year that I became a self-proclaimed Minimalist. That is when I learned about Minimalism and what it means.
And just to clear the air you don’t have to live a frugal life or be flat broke to be a Minimalist. Read the related post below for tips on Minimalism after you are done here.
In fact I am currently working my tail off to go full time as a Blogger so that I can earn a good living and still be able to stay at home and home-school my son.
But it doesn’t stop there. Just because I don’t like “things” we love to do things together. And the last time I checked it cost money to do things. At least the kinds of things we like to do.
We love going to see the latest movie and splurge on movie popcorn or ice skating.
And what about digging for diamonds? That cost money because we have to travel over 5 hours plus pay for hotel and admission to the park itself.
You see Minimalism for me is all about making memories! Not stuff. Just because I don’t like stuff doesn’t mean I have to give up a good income too.
How do You Live Simply with Kids?
I will be the first to admit I used to go overboard at Christmas time. No matter how much I bought for my kids it just didn’t seem to be enough.
It got so bad that over the years I started waiting until the last minute to shop. That way I would simply run out of time.
Then last year I had enough. Both our younger kids, my daughter is 22 years old, each wanted something that was rather expensive.
Have you ever told your kids if they ask for something expensive that is all they get? But then you get it for them and also get them other things too?
Yeah! That used to be me, too. Until last Christmas.
See we got them both what they wanted. My son wanted a Gaming Computer and my step daughter wanted a new Laptop.
They each got exactly that. And that was it.
I know some parents are thinking that is wrong and are probably secretly scolding me but as a Christian, Christmas isn’t about how much you get. It’s about giving.
So, we decided from here on out our kids get one thing for Christmas and the rest will be vacations and day trips over the following year. Like digging for diamonds in Arkansas or weekly movie dates with lots of yummy popcorn.
Surprisingly our kids loved the idea!
Minimalism with kids is about making memories not things.
Step By Step Guide to Minimalism with Kids
Hopefully, you’re starting to feel excited and assured about this minimalist journey you’re undertaking.
Making changes in your life is empowering.
However, sometimes, not everyone will understand your choices, including your kids. And that’s okay.
If you want to help them to better grasp the concept, take a look at these tips for talking to kids about minimalism.
- Help Them Understand
The unknown can be scary, especially for kids. Your kids may simply not understand your new approach to life.
Providing a summary of minimalism and what it means to you can help them to better understand the benefits.
They may feel you’re going to get rid of them or leave them behind. Reassure them that paring down gives you more time to focus on them.
Be careful not to preach about how much better this way of life is, as that can alienate them, which is the opposite of your intent. And no matter what don’t ever nit pick them!
- Ask them to help you – Get them involved
Kids usually enjoy being helpful and included. Explain how by living with less you will have more time and money to to the things you love, such as a monthly movie date or a special trip to get ice cream for dinner.
Plan trips and set goals together. This could be a way to help them better understand and to get on board with your choices.
Make a Vision Board of all the places you would love to visit. Afterwards pick just one and together figure out what it would cost.
Show them how not buying more things will help you save for that special trip. You can even start a Trip Jar and sit it near by.
Make sure that the kids see you put money in there and encourage them to put their allowance in as well.
- Something comes in Something goes out Rule
Set Boundaries and make compromises. If your kids aren’t embracing minimalism, you will definitely need to communicate a great deal and establish some rules.
Nothing comes in unless something goes out. For example, if your child wants a new toy they have to first donate a toy.
My son has never really played with toys. So this was never really a problem for us.
However, he did have an obsession with Nerf Guns for a short while.
It had gotten to the point that that they just laid around his room and he never played with them.
Therefore when he got his first laptop and wanted some online games (even though they were digital) he had to donate his Nerf Guns to a friend.
This technique worked so well that we just kept it a rule.
Something comes in Something goes out.
- Be the example
The best tip is always going to be to be the example. Keep in mind you can’t change other people not even your kids. I know how devastating that is but its true.
As parents the best thing we can do is be an example even when it comes to Minimalism.
Our children watch us even when we don’t think they are. And whether they admit or not they tend to mock us.
I don’t know how many times, as an adult, I have said something and thought ‘Dang it! My dad used to say that!” or “I sound just like my mom!”
If you don’t want your kids to own a bunch of crap and yes I said crap then a. don’t buy them things b. don’t buy yourself things c. declutter, organize, and donate weekly or monthly.
Keep these guidelines in mind when talking to your kids about minimalism. Be firm in your boundaries and feel free to communicate your needs often.
A Minimalist Kids Room Example
My son’s room has 4 pieces of furniture 5 if you count the TV. For Christmas he wanted a new Gaming Computer but he already had a desktop.
That is when we made the decision he didn’t need two computers.
So, we gave his old desktop to my mom on Christmas. Not only did this free up some space in his room but we was able to give her a gift she has been wanting.
Also the Gaming Computer was only a tower and it didn’t come with a monitor.
What did we do? We compromised!
My husband hung my sons TV on the wall and we connected his new Gaming Computer to his his TV!
Again not only did this free up space but we saved money by not having to buy a monitor.
Also my son thinks it is just the coolest thing ever that he can watch TV and play games on his TV.
Besides his TV, that now hangs on the wall, he has a full size bed, a desk, chair, and a 4 cubed organizational cube.
The organizational cube sits next to his bed with a lamp on it and also serves as a dresser where we store his socks, underwear, and pj’s in pop up storage bins. We hang the rest of his clothes up in the closet.
Since he doesn’t play with toys we were able to get rid of them.
Conclusion to Minimalism with Kids
If you have a child who still plays with toys then keep it simple.
And if you don’t have enough room in the toy box to store all the toys then that is a sign that you need to declutter the toys.