The idea of embracing minimalism with kids often gets a reputation for being challenging or even impossible. However, I think simplifying and moving towards minimalism is not only doable when you have kids, but a really positive thing to do!
Today I’m sharing 14 ways simplifying your home and your life can benefit your kids. Not only is minimalism with kids possible, I think it’s an amazing gift to offer your kids and your whole family!
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Can you even be a minimalist with a family?
Minimalism often scares people off as being a really extreme, severe way to live. And definitely not something you can pursue once you have kids. But that’s not the case at all!
Minimalism as a lifestyle isn’t about living in an all-white urban loft with one chair and little else. And it certainly doesn’t require depriving yourself of anything beyond the bare essentials and living out of a single backpack.
In fact, minimalism can look different for all of us! The key to embracing minimalism as a lifestyle is deciding what is important to you, then removing anything that doesn’t align with what is important to you or distracts you from what is important.
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”
Why minimalism with kids is important
I believe that embracing a minimalist mindset is a great way for anyone to create a full, rich and happy life centred around what they value most. But even more, I believe embracing minimalism with kids can be even more important.
We live in a fast-paced, consumer-driven society where we are constantly surrounded by messages telling us we need more, newer, better, faster, etc. to be happy. Introducing our children to the idea of minimalism – choosing to own less stuff for the sake of having more life – is more important than ever.
In today’s post, I’m sharing 14 ways a minimalist lifestyle with a family can positively impact and benefit your kids!
Minimalism with kids: 14 ways simplifying benefits kids
1. Increases gratitude
Just like with adults, one of the benefits of minimalism with kids is increasing their gratitude. When you simplify your home, choosing to own fewer things, but only things that add value to your lives, you all appreciate what you own more.
Removing the excess, the clutter and the distractions from your home gives you the opportunity to find more gratitude. Not only for the things you own, and the value they add to your life. But also, by recognizing the abundance in your life and how little you actually need to live a full, rich, happy life.
Even young children can feel more gratitude for what they own when they own fewer things. Too much stuff can dilute their gratitude because they feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff.
2. Encourages generosity
Decluttering and simplifying your home are great ways to encourage generosity in kids. It helps to teach them the importance of sharing your own good fortune, especially when you are lucky to have more than enough.
Explaining to kids that passing on the things they don’t use, need or love to someone else who will truly use, need or love them is a great way to foster generosity.
It can also help teach kids about empathy, compassion and kindness. As well as be a great opportunity to have conversations about the different circumstances people live in and what they can do to help those in need.
3. Teaches money management skills
Another great benefit of minimalism with kids is how it can help teach, foster and encourage good money management skills.
We live in a society where instant gratification is so common. It’s all too easy to see something you like and want to buy it immediately. Not only does this often lead to a house full of clutter. But it can also lead to poor purchasing decisions, debt and overspending.
However, encouraging kids to buy less and buy more thoughtfully is a great benefit of living as a minimalist family. It gives you opportunities to have conversations about needs versus wants, saving for things you really want, buying things for the right reasons, etc.
Any time you can have conversations with your kids and opportunities to teach them positive money management skills are great. The more kids know about how to manage their money responsibly, the better equipped they will be to manage their money as adults.
4. Encourages responsibility
Another benefit of minimalism with kids is the way it can help encourage responsibility.
When kids own fewer things, they tend to value and appreciate them more. They take better care of the things they own because there isn’t a seemingly endless supply of more “stuff” available if something breaks or gets wrecked.
Not only that but having less stuff in the house makes establishing responsible habits and routines a lot easier.
A playroom or bedroom absolutely full of toys can be overwhelming even for an adult to try and clean up, much less a child. It’s hard to teach kids to tidy up their spaces when the task is so overwhelming and daunting!
But with fewer things, expecting kids to clean up and maintain their own spaces is much more realistic for everyone involved. Cleaning up the playroom is a lot easier to tackle when it only takes 10 minutes as opposed to an hour.
5. Promotes good consumer habits
Just as minimalism with kids helps foster good money management skills, it also helps promote good consumer habits as well.
When you are more thoughtful and intentional with your purchases, the things you buy are often better purchases for you.
When you buy fewer items and think your purchases through carefully, the things you buy have a better chance of becoming something you will use and appreciate more. As opposed to impulse or emotional purchases that you often end up not needing, using or even liking!
Not only that, but there is value in not always immediately getting everything you want. It helps teach patience and can even reduce entitlement among kids.
6. Increases contentment
Just as minimalism, in general, tends to increase feelings of gratitude, minimalism also tends to increase feelings of contentment as well. In adults and in kids!
As a minimalist family, the culture in your home is one where you choose to own less and buy less. All so you can have more time, space, energy and freedom to enjoy the people, experiences and things that mean the most to you.
This often leads to more contentment as you stop looking for “more” to fill your life. It’s easier to ignore advertiser’s messages that you need more, newer, better, faster, etc. when you appreciate the benefits of and feel content with a simplified home and minimalist lifestyle.
Kids pick up on your habits and emotions. When you feel content with what you have, and feel like it’s enough for you, your kids notice. When you are always looking for “more” or the next thing you can buy, they notice that too.
Kids are still kids and will likely always be interested in the latest toy or the cool things their friends have. But modelling your own contentment with what you own is a great way to help your kids feel content with what they own as well.
7. Helps kids prioritize
No one can do everything or own everything. Everyone makes choices about what is important to them and what isn’t – including kids.
Living with less and embracing a minimalist lifestyle helps kids figure out what their priorities are. What they value most, what they love to do, what’s important to them, etc.
When kids are surrounded by excess, clutter and distractions, they often don’t have the time or the space to figure out what they value most and love to do.
It’s easy to think that giving kids plenty of options and all kinds of toys will give them the opportunity to try everything. But actually, too much stuff and too many options can be really overwhelming for kids.
Living with less not only helps kids prioritize what will fill their time and their space. But it also gives them the time and space they need to figure out what their priorities are in the first place!
8. Promotes experiences over possessions
Another great benefit of minimalism with kids is helping them learn to value and appreciate experiences over things.
Research has shown that experiences bring longer-lasting happiness to your life than material possessions. Minimalist living with a family is a great way to put this into practice.
As a family, you can start prioritizing experiences over “stuff”. Make memories together instead of adding more stuff to your home.
Go on adventures, explore your neighbourhood, travel the world – whatever works for you! The key is to give your kids the opportunity to see the value in experiences and making memories so they can carry this lesson with them through their life.
9. Less stress and more calm
Embracing minimalism with kids has a huge impact on the home environment and the effect that environment has on their lives.
For example, less stuff leads to less visual clutter, less mess and a home that’s easier to keep tidy and clean. Removing the clutter, the excess and the distractions can help create a calmer home for many people, including kids!
One of my favourite simplifying resources is Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. It goes into great detail about the benefits of a simpler, slower childhood and is really inspiring!
Not only can decluttering and simplifying create a calmer space with less clutter and mess, but it can also help improve the well-being of the family as well.
For example, with less stuff, there tends to be less mess, and the messes that do happen are less overwhelming to clean up. This can often lead to calmer and happier parents who don’t feel like they are fighting a losing battle to keep the house clean. Calmer and happier parents help lead to happier kids as well!
10. More creativity
Having fewer toys is a great way to encourage deeper, more creative play among kids.
Not only do fewer toys give kids more time and space to play. But it also encourages them to use their imaginations and use their toys in creative new ways. As well as encourages cooperative play among siblings and friends.
When kids are surrounded by a large number of toys, they can easily get overstimulated or experience decision fatigue. Either not knowing what to choose to play with or simply bouncing from one thing to the next.
But fewer toys lets kids focus on one thing at a time more easily and get deeper into their play. As well as use their creativity and imaginations to come up with creative solutions, games and activities.
11. Fosters relationships
Just as you can encourage kids to appreciate experiences over things, those shared experiences are a great way to foster and deepen your relationships with your kids.
Simply spending time with your kids, no matter how big or small the experience you’re sharing is, is a great way to build your relationship.
Not to mention, when you have less stuff in your home to take care of, you have more time available. And when you have more time available, you have more opportunities to use it to spend time with your kids and build and grow your relationship.
12. Teaches happiness doesn’t come from “things”
A really great benefit of minimalism with kids is the opportunity to show them happiness doesn’t come from the “things” you own. Not to mention teaching them what you own doesn’t define you as a person either!
The sooner you can start teaching kids these lessons, the better. Helping them learn not to rely on “things” to bring them happiness. And learn to separate who they are from what they own.
13. Helps kids appreciate the little things in life
Choosing to live simply with kids is a great way to encourage them to appreciate the little things and simpler pleasures in life. Simplifying your home often leads to simplifying your life as well. Clearing the clutter from your schedule and your days, as well as your home.
This shift into a slower, simpler life is a great way to encourage kids (and ourselves!) to notice and appreciate the little things in life and the simple moments that can make life great.
14. Provides an example of defining your own values and way of life
We live in a consumer-driven society, constantly bombarded with messages telling us we need more, newer, better, faster, etc. Choosing a minimalist lifestyle can be quite counter-cultural for many of us.
But by embracing minimalist living with a family, you are able to demonstrate and lead by example that it’s ok to live a life that looks a little different from people around you if it works better for you.
It gives kids an example to follow to create a life that brings them happiness and focuses on their values. Whatever that looks like for them!
The benefits of minimalism with kids
There are so many benefits of simplifying and embracing minimalism with kids. And these 14 benefits of simplifying apply to anyone, not just kids!
It’s important to remember that living as a minimalist family isn’t about depriving your children of “stuff”. Instead, it’s about clearing the clutter, the excess, the distractions and the busyness to help them gain so much more!
Finding what is “enough” for your family and your family’s version of minimalism can be a great way to encourage your kids to embrace a life filled with less stuff and more living!