The first reaction of moms is that it’s impossible to be a minimalist if you have children. Most people question, “Is minimalism good for kids?” Short answer, yes.
Long answer, stripping your child of all physical objects will more than likely cause long term trauma. However, getting your child to appreciate the world around them instead of filling emotional voids with objects is a long term skill.
Minimalism involving kids is a balancing act between their desire for items to call their own and allowing items have an effect on their behavior.
Short Term Pain for Long Term Gain
If your child began their life without minimalist parents then there will be a transition period. It might get a little rough to see just how obsessed your kid is with accumulation.
Without even purging any items, just the behavior shift away from constant consumerism will be jarring for your little one. We have conditioned our youngsters to derive pleasure from objects instead of experiences.
Each time they are going without a new purchase they perceive that as a loss of joy instead of an opportunity to experience moments without distractions. You will begin to question if minimalism is good for kids. The meltdown happening before your eyes makes it seem like maybe your child doesn’t want to be a minimalist.
Hold strong and the long term gain will clearly be worth the short term pain.
Focus on finding interests beyond items to foster cognitive development. If your child is a big fan of mermaids, instead of purchasing a mermaid doll, get them a mermaid swimsuit and see if they like swimming, surfing, or another water sport. If your child acts out mysteries with their dolls suggest that they try to write their own mystery book.
For every physical item your child wants there is an activity or experience to fill that void. Giving your child room to explore different hobbies or skills can pave the way to finding their passions. You may never know your kid is a natural at horseback riding or a whiz at graphic design if you let items fill all their free time.
Always having toys fill your child’s time puts an obstacle to forming deep bonds with people. Getting to know an elderly neighbor or spending time with a sibling create valuable social skills. Learning through play has a lot of value as well, but that isn’t the only way a child can learn.
Create stronger relationships through stories. While your child may focus on learning a lot of facts about people, their favorite color, their favorite animal, their birthdate, those have a harder time being committed to memory. Share stories from your life at the age your child is now, because that will connect to them on a deeper level.
Minimalism Good For Kids
Teaching kids to regulate emotions is one of the hardest skills a parent comes up against. Objects, including toys, do not make emotional regulation any easier. A comfort item use by a child can create avoidance from the issue while a toy used as a distraction can unintentionally condone bad behavior.
Using toys or objects in moments of turmoil can cloud the situation and spiral the situation out of control. Focused and calm communication while identifying needs, emotions, and solutions is crucial to improving behavior. Removing the explosion of toys in a kids environment reduces distractions and increases the need to be intentional about fun, relationships, and learning.