As parents there can always seem like there are more things that you have to buy your kids. But when is enough enough? We asked Radhika Sathaye to share with us her tips and tricks for being a minimalist parent, mum or dad.
Learning to Say No to the Noise
If you are trying to be a minimalist parent, one thing you should know is that saying no to things takes serious discipline and focus. It’s really hard to stop ourselves sometimes because we feel like we are denying the kids. Here’s the thing, children don’t need much to be happy, excess love yes but definitely not things. Unfortunately, our children’s lives nowadays have an excess of everything – too many toys, books, clothes, shoes, accessories, devices etc.
A good strategy is to define yourself and your family’s approach and let that guide your lifestyle and your children’s upbringing. Your focus could be books, sports, board games and holidays or it could be clothes, toys, outdoor play, and food. Whatever it may be, figure out what matters the most to your family and then focus on it. Everything else is just noise.
Once you have zeroed in on a lifestyle, make sure you buy mindfully. One thing that I like to do and find really helpful is to research before I buy books or toys for the kids. I also like to check with friends and family to see if they have any suggestions or ideas on age-appropriate content and activities. The other thing you can think about is organizing your home.
Some helpful tips:
- Start with arranging their toys, books and clothes by categories and in a way where they are easy to find and easy to clean up after. Organizing them in different baskets and sections is helpful too. Can’t find anything handy at home? Check out IKEA for storage organizers.
- Get high-quality toys if you can. They last a lot longer, are more durable and feel much nicer to use. Soft toys are super cute and feel great to hold but unfortunately, they take up lots of space and children don’t seem to care much for them. In fact, sometimes I find them a hazard because babies love putting things in their mouth and they might choke on the fine fur of soft toys.
- Buy books with a good storyline and a key message rather than buying random fairy tale books or princess books which may not be relevant anymore. It’s a good idea to read up about age-appropriate books or ask around in your friend circle for what’s popular with kids who are the same age or older.
- Once your kids outgrow certain clothes, fill a bag and donate it. Find out where to donate your unwanted goods in Singapore here. That’s definitely better than putting it in the cupboard and storing it. As they get older they will also tell you what they like to wear so try and buy accordingly.
Little Green Steps to Remember as a Minimalist Parent
- #BuyLess – It’s not just about reducing our carbon footprint but it’s also about being mindful when we buy things. Try not to randomly add items to the shopping basket just to hit free shipping.
- #Declutter – Having fewer things means the kids will have a lot more space to crawl or run around and be free. It’s also easier to clean up 10 toys vs. 100 toys.
- #ExperienceMore – Material goods bring fleeting joy but real beauty is in experiences, feelings, and relationships. Teach your kids the value of meaningful experiences and the importance of leading a life that is defined by thoughts and not things.