We live in a world of sophisticated technology. Parents are encouraged to give more and more to their children. Advertisements tell kids they need the latest app, computer or video game. Peer-to-peer parents are telling one another to keep their kids busy with extracurricular activities and their child will be left behind if they are bored.
Giving too many material things to children creates an environment in which mental health issues flourish. When a child has too many decisions and too much stuff they feel overwhelmed and unhappy. What children need is our love and the gift of simplicity.
How do we give them a lifelong gift of simplicity? We lead by example. We show them we value time over things. We value time with one another. Slowing down feeds our soul and nurtures our family.
Here are five practical tips to let your actions speak louder than words:
Simplify closets and playrooms! When children have too many things to occupy their time, they are robbed of the downtime and release needed to grow a creative mind. Remove broken toys, toys that limit your child’s imagination, missing part toys and toys your child hasn’t played with in over a month. Don’t stop with your kids room and playroom – lead by example, tackle your house one room at a time.
Kill the Screens! Has your child said to you, “put the phone down mom/dad”? When your child is asking you to put your phone down, that is a wake-up call you cannot ignore. Your actions are speaking loud and clear. It is time to reduce screen time. How do we make changes to our child’s screen time? We set limits for ourselves. After five, turn your “smart” phone to silent until the children are in bed. By turning your ringer off, you are modeling family time is the most important priority to you.
Add Simplistic Pleasures! Remember when using pots and pans for music was acceptable? Now we feel the urge to get drum sets and keyboards. Less is more and creativity will spark when allowed. Enjoy moments of cleaning up the kitchen and folding clothes as bonding time. This is true family time. You are able to teach real life skills, responsibility and connect as a family.
Outdoors Explorers! Anytime spent outside as a family connects you with nature and deletes distractions from everyday life. Invite the kids before they ask you to go outside. This demonstrates that you value nature over mindless TV watching. This simple activity will help everyone mentally and physically. Take the dog for a walk as a family. Explore different types of trees and birds. Dig in the dirt and get a little dirty. They will remember these moments forever.
Free Time! I do not hear very many grown-ups say, “I have too much free time.” Children only get to embrace the time of their youth once. They are only young for a few short years. Look at your calendar, do you value organized activities over free time? Commit to your family at least two hours a day of unscheduled time together. This fosters creativity, self-reliance and happiness.
Begin simplifying childhood today! What steps are you going to take to lead by example? Share your story with us, and follow the Official Real Estate Agent Directory® for more lifestyle tips to keep your home happy and healthy.