Minimalism and children? Surely do-able!
Do your children’s toy baskets erupt like volcanos? Cars, robots, puppets and books instantly go from inside the basket to all over the floor. Do you notice that often after the eruption they end up playing with the same two or three toys?
If this is the case, it’s time to experiment with a minimalist life-style to restore some balance and well-being in your home. Help your children discover a new way to relate to objects and do some good for the environment by reducing waste and carbon dioxide emissions. Toys are some of those things that we might not need so much of…
Minimalism brings you closer to the little things in life. But being minimalist does not mean living in a house with only one table, and two chairs; it does mean reducing the number of objects that clutter your life and your time, in order to rediscover essential and profound values like free time, free space, and the possibility of concentrating on a few things of great value.
If you are thinking that all this is impossible, just because you have children in the house (and, notoriously, children bring a certain amount of chaos), we can assure you that this is not the case! Building a more minimalist lifestyle is something your children will be happy to be involved in and, as time goes by, and they will begin to experience all the benefits of this choice. After having developed minimalist habits, they might even adopt a similar life-style when they get older and have their own families!
A fun and engaging way to introduce the whole family to this lifestyle is to create a minimalist play room. This room can be a bedroom or a dedicated playing space! All you need to do is follow our advice:
- Involve the children! Make them part of the change by explaining what is happening and get them to help you. They will feel like respected participants and be motivated to develop greater awareness.
- Be involved yourself! Of course, parents are the first and most important example for children. Show them that minimalism is an integral part of your lives: reduce the number of objects in your personal space too.
- Look for functional objects such as toy boxes that can also be used as furniture. If you don’t have any, consider buying second-hand ones (focusing of those that didn’t require significant new natural resources to produce).
- Let your children help you choose which items they want to keep and which can be donated for re-use. You should recycle only those objects that are so worn out that nobody else could possibly re-use them. Having fewer things to focus on will allow your children to concentrate on what really matters and will help them develop their imagination. Also, tidying up a room will be much easier and they will be happier to do it.
- Reduce the number of clothes too! Very often children (and also adults) have more clothes than they really need. Reducing their wardrobe helps to make space in the closets… and in the mind! By having fewer clothes at their disposal, children will be more independent in their choices and will be able to dress themselves more easily.
- Beware of too much originality! Avoid furnishings and decorations that are too extravagant or eccentric, because they could go out of fashion! It’s better to opt for timeless classics.
- Use neutral tones when choosing the colours of furniture and any decorations to be applied to the walls. They are more relaxing and harmonious. They will contribute to building a calm and cozy environment.
- Opt for durable furniture, decorations and toys. One of the key ideas of minimalism is: have less that last longer. This is a concept that is full of meaning, because it teaches children to become attached to things and to prefer quality over quantity.
Photo credits: Marcin Ratajczak
Building a minimalist environment for children will have many positive effects on their lives (as well as yours). A child with fewer objects, for example, struggles less to find what s/he is looking for, while being more independent and less frustrated.
Plus, a minimalist life-style helps children develop their imagination, because it stimulates them to use fewer objects to create a vast number of games, adventures and fantastic stories. This will improve their level of engagement and also their playing experience.
So if you want to do the most for the environment, do the least!
Minimalism is not only good for us and our children, it has positive effects on the environment and nature, for several reasons:
- Owning fewer objects means producing less waste.
- Buying fewer items means less pollution because fewer items will be produced and less carbon dioxide will be released into the environment.
- A minimalist life-style is eco-friendly because, in addition to reducing consumption, it encourages you to find essential and deeper connections with nature. This will lead to more time outdoors and the enjoyment of the physical and mental benefits that it brings.
In an age which is overwhelmed with objects, where unrestrained consumption seems to be the norm (at least, in a part of the world), minimalism becomes a way to counteract and, at the same time, to protect ourselves from the negative effects that a certain lifestyle has on us. Never has the phrase ‘less is more’ been so true as in the times we are currently living in.
When life is minimal, well-being is maximum!
Minimalism applies not only to children’s bedrooms; it also affects the environment. There are many effects that a more essential lifestyle can have on our psyche and physique.
- Happiness: having less stuff means having less to worry about. Reducing your worries is a great first step to a less stressful and possibly happier life.
- More time with the family: Having less stuff also means more free time because the house is easier to tidy up and clean. Children are more independent because everything in their room is more accessible. Thus, there is more time left to spend on what really counts: family.
- A deeper connection with nature: having more time and spending it outdoors helps us improve our fitness and mood. It allows us to contemplate the beauty of nature and encourages us to respect and protect it even more. Every moment becomes a discovery opportunity for the little ones, who, among trees and flowers, lakes and beaches, forge an ever-closer bond with the environment. They (and you) learn that there is more to life than just owning an object!
We hope these tips have been useful and that you are ready and all set to start your journey into minimalism.