Sometimes less is more, and when it comes to raising a child, there is a school of thought that minimalist parenting is the way to go.
What does this mean and how can mums and dads pare back their parenting style?
What is minimalist parenting?
In essence, minimalist parenting is the idea that family life can be improved by doing less. According to Christine Koh and Asha Dornfest, authors of Minimalist Parenting, this means better time management, fewer activities, less clutter, more free time and a freer headspace generally.
Here are five ways that families can live the minimalist life:
1. Clear your child's schedule
Swimming, karate, art classes, soccer, Mandarin, birthday parties and ballet… oh my! As parents, there's the temptation to offer our children every opportunity.
However, minimalist parenting is all about giving children some breathing space, free of excessive scheduling. With a reduction in organised activities, come more opportunities to imagine and play spontaneously.
2. Embrace quiet time
By moving away from over-scheduling, children can move towards quiet moments spent with themselves. Self-play is seen as an opportunity for personal growth and self-reflection.
3. Allow your child to make decisions
As parents, we make many decisions about our children's lives, however, it is important to give kids some decision-making powers too. Let them choose the activities they want to do and put a greater focus on their interests.
4. Let them play as they please
Instead of pushing your child in the direction of a certain toy or craft project, give them the freedom to play with what interests them. This will encourage their independence, imagination and creativity.
There's also the idea that children benefit from less toy choices, so you might consider rotating toys in and out so they can focus on being creative and imaginative rather than flitting between playthings.
5. De-clutter the home
When we think of minimalism, we think of clean, white spaces and museum-like homes. Of course, very few family abodes look like that, but minimalist parenting sees the value in clearing out excessive 'stuff'.
This can mean de-cluttering the house, creating tech-free spaces and helping your child organise their bedroom so that it's a calm, clear space. If this seems sterile (and a tad unrealistic), then there's the idea that colour and texture can be added to keep a bright, fun feel. Minimalist parents are also big fans of shelving and storage. They’re places where your child’s toys and books can have a home while keeping spaces clutter-free.
All in all, the idea of minimalist parenting is to have less fuss and more fun. To live a simpler, richer life away from the perils of 'over-parenting'.
So what do you think? Is less more?