Less is more has been my mantra in parenting lately.
There has long been the narrative that moms have to be tired, burnt out, and stressed, running around like a chicken with its head cut off (do people still use this idiom?). TV shows often depict a mom as being forgetful, clumsy, disoriented, and disheveled.
While motherhood is certainly hard, and there are days where we are surviving instead of thriving, the overall theme of motherhood doesn’t have to be this way.
Once we start to shift our mindset to less is more, we will start to see parenting to be more enjoyable.
In today’s blog, I have 5 parenting hacks to simplify your life at home.
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Table of Contents
Less is More: 5 Parenting Hacks to Simplify Your Life at Home
#1. Less Toys
More toys in our child’s life doesn’t mean that they will be occupied and entertained more.
In fact, it’s the classic proven example of when we are given too many options, we choose nothing or take no risks to try something new.
The same is true with kids. The more toys they have to pick from, the more distracted they are and the less likely to use their imagination.
While on the other hand, less toys means MORE chances to develop creativity, participate in MORE focused play, and encourage gratitude.
What can you do if you have too many toys?
1. Do a toy rotation:
Instead of keeping all of your kid’s toys out where he can access them, do a toy rotation where you gather toys to put in different bins. Every week or so, put one bin or collection of toys out while the other bins are hidden away.
This is a win-win for you and your child.
2. Do a donation.
You have my permission to get rid of some of those toys that are loud, require too many battery changes, and seemingly won’t shut off.
Every 6 months or so, chuck those toys that are annoying or that your kids have outgrown or don’t use.
If you wish to involve your kids, this is a great time to teach them about gratitude, sharing, waste, and excess.
3. Ask for gifts besides toys.
Kids get a lot of toys for birthdays and holidays. Instead of having your kids get toys each time, ask for different kinds of gifts from loved ones and friends.
Having fewer toys in your home, means more meaningful play, conversations, and engagement with your kids.
#2. Less Commitments
Susie from Busy Toddler says it well. Being unbusy is a big deal to her.
While she takes it to the extreme and doesn’t have her kids in any activities, it’s time you look at your schedule and cut out some of those commitments.
More activities equal less time for quality time with families, less money, less energy, and less time for kids to participate in unstructured play which is an integral part of their well-being and development.
When cutting back on commitments, especially for your kids, think about the reasons why you are doing these activities in the first place.
For example, I was on the verge of signing my 2 year old son up for soccer because I saw other kids his age participating in it.
But, my son had expressed no interest in soccer and saying “yes” to soccer was potentially saying “no” to family dinners, relaxing Saturday mornings, and hard earned money.
I was just going to do it because I felt like he “had to” because other kids were doing it.
So take a look at your schedule and cut back on your commitments. You’ll discover you now have MORE time for the things that matter.
#3. Less Screen Time
I’m not against screen time at all, but I could write a whole blog within itself about screen time and why we need to regulate it more (I’m a high school teacher. A lot of kids have real addictions similar to that of drugs. These kids are not okay.).
The important thing to remember is that screen time looks a lot differently than it did for Millennials growing up in the 90s. It is not the same! So when we hear the phrase, “My parents let me watch a lot of TV growing up, and I turned out fine,” know that we are comparing apples and oranges.
Less screen time (notice that I didn’t say no screen time) means more time for unstructured play, more sleep, more positive behaviors, and more health benefits.
Struggling to limit screen time in kids? Turn to Jerrica of Raise Wildflowers for a TV detox.
#4. Less Clutter
More clutter equals more anxiety, more unhealthy habits, and more of an inability to focus.
Point blank - clutter isn’t good for our brains and another reason to get rid of all those toys.
We recently moved houses, and it was an amazing feeling to get rid of so much junk we had accumulated in our old house. I had a rule: If there was no space or more for something, it wasn’t entering into the new house.
Now in our new house, everything has a specific spot where it is supposed to go and each spot is organized by category. We have boxes full of first aid supplies, tools, picture hangers, paper and stationary, manuals and guides, etc.
Nothing comes into the house if it doesn’t have a specific, organized spot to be housed.
Need help with decluttering: Look to this article and these supplies below.
Why? Because less clutter leads to MORE space, MORE organization, MORE happiness, and MORE relaxation.
#5. Less Playing
As parents we already have a lot on our plate. That’s why I think it is okay to adopt lazy parenting (read the article - it isn’t what you think).
Instead of playing with your kids all day long, teach them how to play independently by doing time-ins and then stepping back to do what you want.
Less playing with your kids will equal MORE time for your kids to engage in unstructure, independent play and MORE time for you to feel relaxed, refreshed, and renewed without any of the guilt and shame.
Wrapping it up
With these five steps, you’ll find that less really is more. As a society that thinks we need more, more, more to be happy, you’ll find that by doing less of the things that culture pushes on us when we have kids, we are actually happier.
So start with one of the things on this list and try to add one each 1-2 months. And remember a lot of the times less is really more.
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And check out my parenting guide, Now What?