Simplified parenting starts with a desire for a slower-paced lifestyle.
Do you find yourself desiring something different from what society says is normal?
People will tell you that all parents have to run their kids from one activity to the next during the week.
And fill your Saturday mornings with more playdates, multiple practices, and one event after another.
Speed through the next fast-food drive-through. All the while laundry is piling up and you feel a bit disconnected from your children.
This does not have to be the way of life for your family.
You are probably ready to bluntly express to your family that this over-busy lifestyle is becoming or has already become too much.
Many parents are struggling to try to find balance while accepting that no one can or should want to do it all.
It is possible to live a slower-paced parenting lifestyle to help build healthy relationships within your family, maintain your home and find and keep your peace of mind.
Contrary to what some may think, this doesn’t just happen.
You have to on purpose set out to live and parent your children this way. Yes, you have to declutter and get organized.
But more importantly, you are soaking up minutes, days, and years of parenting in a more relaxed and simple way.
You want to actually be happy and enjoy your role as a parent.
I discovered this for myself and have no plans of going through motherhood any other way.
I would urge you as well, once you find the simplified parenting strategies that fit your family to guard and protect your new way of living.
The purpose of simplified parenting is to create a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment for children to grow and flourish without physical, emotional, or mental clutter. It’s a home that intentionally creates space for children to receive the time and attention they crave.
I strongly use the word “intentionally” because although as parents we start out intending to parent our children this way, somehow life tells us all the should dos, must-sees, and must-haves that are required to be considered good parents; and our lives become complicated, too busy, and we’re stressed as parents.
None of us envisioned parenting that way, it just kind of happens.
DECIDE TO LIVE A SIMPLE PARENTING LIFESTYLE
Here’s a major point about simplified parenting – you can quickly adjust your lifestyle to fit this parenting method.
By making a decision that you no longer want to rush through your parenting days (while your children are young), you can literally begin today!
With a more simplified parenting lifestyle, there is nothing to run out and buy. It actually involves buying less stuff.
There are no fancy skills required. Just a desire to want to slow down and spend more time with your children.
If that sounds like you. Let today be your day to begin to simplify your parenting.
Decide within yourself, that as a parent you will no longer overbook your calendar or jam-pack your to-do list.
Today, start deciding which tasks you can and will say no to so that you can say yes to your children.
If this process feels overwhelming, start small.
With small, little by little decisions can you gently decline events and or tasks that will take away the time you’d rather spend nurturing your relationship with your children.
And this may also include setting boundaries within your household amongst family members.
Especially if you have older children, clearly communicating what you are and are not able to agree to is important to help you avoid running yourself in circles trying to meet everyone’s expectations.
Explain to your children how you value quality time with them and how it’s important to be able to have un-rushed time with them.
Deciding to live a simplified parenting lifestyle may require some adjustments for your household members but consistency and communication will help make it possible.
HOW IS SIMPLIFIED PARENTING DIFFERENT?
Simplified parenting embraces more space on the calendar, connectedness, and simple things.
Simplified parenting does not mean we ignore inappropriate behavior or neglect to correct our children. But, we are laser-focused on how we are spending time with our children.
Simplified parenting is about more well-behaved children. This parenting style focuses on emotionally healthy relationships with our children, quality time, and love languages.
When our minds as parents are not overcrowded and bombarded with too many things, we have more capacity to focus on affirming words to speak to our children, gentle touch, and understanding their love language.
The more casual time we have freed in our schedules the more we can intentionally fill their love tanks.
Family walks, a home-cooked meal eaten together, and board games are just scratching the surface of what it means to simplify your life.
Making time to nurture your child is one way to build resilience and more confidence in your child.
I will share this mantra that I find myself repeating inwardly during times when I’m reflecting on how I appreciate a slower-paced lifestyle.
Ready? Here goes.
“My family is enough”.
Those 4 words run through my mind as I think about how precious life and parenting truly are.
I’ve been guilty myself at times of crowding this time with stuff, events, tasks, and whatever else so easily come along. But, when I’m able to regain the stillness of time and remember what matters most, those 4 words come back to my mind.
I would recommend, anyone who is ready to dive into the journey of simplified parenting to start there.
Your family is enough.
You all are present with each other. Your heartfelt conversations. The sound of running feet through the house. The disagreements, the laughs, the prayers at night are all the things that irreplaceably fill your home.
That is what makes simplified parenting different. We look for ways to clear out anything that drowns out the sound of a simple lifestyle; while making sure our children feel loved.
Parenting is much more fulfilling when you can enjoy time spent with your family.
Having schedules that are too busy is one of the top obstacles amongst many parents. Many of us would choose more freedom of our time as a top priority that we would like to resolve.
When we do find ways to clear our schedules, commute less, or even relocate for a slower-paced lifestyle we tend to be happier and more fulfilled.
Finding a way to break free of the cycle of the “fast lane” living is the heart cry of many parents.
Parents are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of a simplified parenting lifestyle.
Research shows that slower living will help you:
- Save money
- Cook healthier
- Have fewer illnesses
- Have more family bonding time
WAYS TO CREATE A SIMPLIFIED HOME
Intentionally creating chunks of time throughout the day when you and your family unplug from screens instantly creates time and space for play, conversations, or creativity. Less screen time helps cause fewer distractions for children and adults.
It’s okay to just be. Don’t worry about having to entertain the kids every minute of the day. Allow them to process how to be innovative in boredom.
Enjoy more nature.
The endless lessons and interesting finds in nature will slow down any fast past parenting. Hiking on kid-friendly trails is one great way to break away without distractions. Spend more time playing and exploring at your local park. Acorns, pinecones, dirt, streams, and trees all have a way to make us stop and “smell the roses” of parenting.
Reevaluate your expectations.
Take time to think long and hard about what are the top priorities that really matter to you in life.
What impression do you want to leave on your children?
Once you establish those answers work backward to live your daily life with those end goals in mind.
Reconfigure your home (if needed)
Just in case your thinking I mean turning your home into a child’s play place I’m not. I am saying create space in your home for children to freely engage with their environment. Books they can reach. Kid-friendly durable furniture. Clutter-free space. Plants they can water. A home where adults and children both can feel comfortable.
Simplify the children’s wardrobe.
The laundry. This was once one of the mysteries in my home. Trying to figure out how to manage it all. Until the day I discovered freedom in less. Whether you choose a capsule wardrobe, minimalism, or my favorite – a manageable amount. Creating a functional wardrobe is making sure your children have the clothes they need without it being overwhelming. Downsize the children’s amount of clothing. Make sure it’s easy for you and/or them to wash, sort, and put away consistently.
Minimize the toys.
The same applies to toys. Reducing the number of toys to an amount that is manageable for your children based on their age. Using easy-to-reach and sturdy toy storage makes cleaning up easier. Talking with your kids about the toys they actually play with, and getting rid of old toys before making room for new ones helps keep toys from overrunning your home.
*Being very selective in your purchases also helps prevent an accumulation of broken, missing parts or low-quality toys.
Mealtime is such a big part of our family life, yet it can feel like a drive-by rushed experience. There are definitely some nights when cereal sounds like the perfect answer. Life is just busy at times and things do come up. But, planning and creating a lifestyle of home-cooked cozy, healthy meals causes you to slow down and not rush. Especially if you are preparing meals from scratch. Decide early on that your kitchen will be the family hub of togetherness around the dinner table.
Get more organized.
Although we want our calendars less crowded, we still do need them. Using your calendar or planner to plan appointments, important dates, vacations, etc. will help you feel more prepared and less flustered. Being intentional with your time starts with a solid plan of how you will spend it.
Consider the purchase you bring into your home.
I know we discussed this concerning toys but this is for all areas for several reasons. We don’t want to fill our homes with impulse purchases that will leave us feeling disappointed within a few weeks or days even. Think about how your purchases will serve your family. Is this a long-lasting purchase that can withstand young children? Will this purchase take up real estate in your home that could be left open for room for the kids to play? Is this purchase energy efficient? Will it enhance your home environment? Is this purchase extremely high maintenance which will take more of your time away from your children? Think through questions like these and decide if this purchase will add to or detract from your priorities.
Reduce the amount of Knick knacks in your home.
The less is more concept works well in this area.
The fewer little items you have to dust and make sure don’t get broken the more time you’ll have to focus on your children and more important tasks.
Create your child’s bedroom to focus on rest.
I stumbled on this idea by accident. Our current home boy’s bedroom is small and does not have a lot of storage for toys. This forced me to limit the number of toys kept in their room. We store more bedtime books in their bedroom and focused on creating a cozy space for more reading and resting.
Establish rhythms, rituals & routines
Your household rhythms are how your home naturally flows. Rituals are usually traditions that you intentionally plan. These can be small or big. Such as, every Friday is family movie night or an annual Christmas festival your family visits once a year. Your household routines are the tasks and responsibilities you intentionally plan to execute every day. Some amounts of predictability and consistency are important for creating a more peaceful home. This should be done with balance to prevent a home that feels too rigid.
TIPS ABOUT SIMPLIFIED PARENTING:
Remember to keep in mind why parenting is rewarding. For example, you get to watch your children grow and develop every day. You can be their first teacher on many subjects in life. You get to experience life events with your children. As a parent, you can contribute to their success. Your family gets the opportunity to create lifelong positive memories together. You can coach them through tough situations. Also, you’re able to impact a future generation.
Practice being a calmer parent. Take a minute when you need to and breathe and gather your thoughts. Pray and ask God to help guide you in your decisions with your child. Rest and nap when you can. A well-rested parent is a much better parent. Take walks when you need time to think and clear your mind. Talk to someone if you feel stressed or overwhelmed. Make time for your well-being and self-care – physically and mentally.
Acknowledging and taking action on your desire for a slower-paced, simplified parenting lifestyle can be one of the most rewarding decisions you make. Don’t worry if your parenting decisions are not popular among family and friends.
Simplified child-raising is a process of learning to trust your parenting instincts nudging you to make changes. With time you’ll stop second-guessing yourself and become more confident. Soon, knowing when to take the necessary steps best for your family will feel like second nature.
This new way of living can greatly impact your children. They may also raise their families with the same intent of the heart. You’ll teach your children by example to not focus on parenting perfection but work towards parenting connectedness.