As our family have been on this journey of simplifying our life, we have been learning the joy of owning less stuff.
- The house is easier to keep clean
- Fewer Chores
- More time to spend together
- Less Stress for Mom & Dad…and the kids
So far, the benefits have far outweighed the work it has taken to get here. As we move further into living a simplified life, I am convinced that this was the right direction for our family.
But what if your kids are not really on board with living a simpler life? What if they aren’t on board with buying and using less stuff? How do you help your kids see the value of living and embracing a simpler life?
We have four daughters. Four teenage daughters to be exact. Just like any teenage girl, they love shoes, clothes, makeup and stuff. They love to shop and have new things. So I understand that it’s not always easy to get our kids on board.
The key thing to remember is that simplifying life is a process. Part of that process is modeling for your kids what simplifying means and helping them understand the heart of a life lived simpler.
When we began simplifying the stuff in our house, we simplified in areas that belonged to the whole family: Living Room, Kitchen, Office, Laundry Room, General Decor inside and out.
We also simplified our personal stuff: Meaning Mom and Dad’s stuff. Our clothes, bedroom decor and furnishings, personal products, shoes, accessories and book collections.
Simplifying had to start with us. We did not require that our children simplify at all. They could keep all their stuff. The only requirement was that they had to keep it neat, make their beds and keep up with their laundry.
In the meantime, we talked as a family about why we were simplifying. Why we were choosing to sell or give our excess away. We worked to explain the heart behind the process. How simplifying allows us to pursue the dreams we have for our family into the future.
As a result, our children naturally began to evaluate their own stuff in the same light. They began to clean out their closets, bookshelves and under their beds. They were excited to bless someone else with clothes they didn’t need and items that were just taking up space in their room. Now, when we go to the store, they start thinking twice before spending their money on random items. Now we see them saving for missions trips, special events and quality items.
That doesn’t mean they always get it right. It doesn’t mean they don’t still spend their hard earned money on useless things that won’t last. Even we still do that sometimes. But, they are beginning to see the value of living a simpler life because they are witnessing the positive results it is having for the family.
So, if your children are not yet on board, that’s ok. Let them go at their own pace. You, as the parent, just keep quietly modeling a simple life for them and as opportunities arise, speak to their hearts as to why a simple life matters and has value.
Leading a simple life is not about how much stuff you get rid of, it’s about an attitude, a conscious choice to live with less in order to live life more.
Teaching Kids To Simplify
- Simplifying starts with you – Model what a simple life looks like
- Share the heart behind a simple life. The vision. The why’s. The how’s.
- Don’t force them to get rid of anything. Simplifying is a process for everyone. Let them find their own pace. (Remember: Even if they never get on board, it does not keep you from simplifying your life.)
- Be supportive – As your kids begin to simplify, let them decide what stays and what goes. Remember: Their pace, not yours.
- Praise – Praise your kids as they make their own choices to simplify life. Praise the small steps and big steps.
Are your kids on board? If so, what have you found works to get them on board? If not, what’s the biggest struggle?
Keeping It Simple,