Being a parent in the 21st century can saddle you with feelings of depriving your children of “the best” if you don’t sign them up for every lesson, take them to every show, or buy them every new techno gadget. But research has found that most privileged kids are, as a whole, more self-centered, depressed, and self-destructive.
Maybe less really could mean more? But what can you do to counteract the materialism that still dominates much of our culture? And why should you?
Minimalism isn’t just about getting rid of all your material possessions. It’s about focusing your family on what really matters in life. It’s about creating a disconnect between mindless consumption and raising our kids to not link their self-worth to how much cool things they have.
So, how to do it?
Trade an abundance of gifts for gratitude. Focus on feelings and emotions rather than tangible gifts, make Valentine’s Day about love, Easter about faith, holidays about family. Life, love, family – those are the real gifts. Allow your kids to choose something you all can do together for someone less fortunate during periods of celebration. Thus, it isn’t about them anymore, it’s about empathy and giving to others. Here you choose to raise a child that is thankful.
Become a champion of underscheduling. Having “nothing planned’ means more time to intimately connect with family. Simple activities like eating together will take on more meaning. Research shows kids who eat dinner with family have higher levels of academic achievement and improved psychological well-being. Here you choose to raise a child that is connected.
Dial back the screen time
As parents, we have so much going on that we have resorted to “convenience parenting” to hold it all together. If your kids won’t sit down for a meal, there’s a device for that. If your kids won’t journey quietly in the car, there’s an app for that. Instead of buying your kids meaningless “stuff”, spend time creating with them. And by this we don’t mean you have to become Picasso overnight. Play to your strengths, if playdough and sandcastles aren’t your calling then get stuck in with crafts and puzzles. Here you choose to raise a child that is imaginative.
No is not a swear word!
Of course, it is important to say yes, but your kids also have to know what it is like to be told no. Hearing no from you makes it much easier for your kids to hear no from others. And let’s face it, they will certainly hear no in the outside world.
Out top 5 creative tips to entertain your kids, which don’t involve screens or making expensive purchases include;
- If you are out at a restaurant; instead of hooking the kids up to earphones and games on a device, ask your waiter to bring you pizza dough for them to build an amazing creation they can eat later!
- Buy a glue gun and start creating amazing mini furniture pieces or the latest design in musical instruments your kids can use for imaginative play.
- Go geocaching; explore nature do something wild! Make it a game between family members by dividing into teams and seeing you comes out trumps.
- Set up science activities to do with your kids, you’d be amazed at how the easy they are to execute and how much shear joy it brings them. Make a paper mache volcano and mix baking powder and vinegar for an explosive reaction! It’s easy on the pocket too!
- Get your kids to make up a secret language. It can be something only the family is privy too, and it’ll also entertain them for hours!
By resisting to spoil your kids you will set them up to manage their own feelings, cooperate, follow rules and have self-control - the payoff will be huge. And they will become well rounded, liked and accepted fellow citizens of society. These lessons will be beneficial throughout your child's life. So many kids these days are being raised with the attitude of entitlement.
What are you choosing for your family?
Date Published: 16 October 2018