How to Make Your Child Thrive With Less
From the moment I found out I was pregnant people started telling me what motherhood would be like.
I was offered an abundance of unsolicited advice about how to raise my daughter.
My baby shower brought me piles of clothes, toys, and teething gadgets, most of which I did not use. At that point in my life, I had discovered that keeping things simple led to more peace in my life, and I wanted this to be a huge component in how I raised my daughter. I found that owning less created a more peaceful life for me, and I hope that my daughter will always have an understanding and appreciation of what peace is. We shouldn't have to fight for peacefulness in our lives; I believe peace is our birthright.
My need to simplify was strong, but it was a huge challenge. Thriving with less is something that takes effort in the modern world, as we are inundated with information, we are overscheduled, and we have so much stuff! We are overwhelmed and overstimulated!
From toys and clothes that take over the home to sugary treats, I have learned to stand my ground with what I feel is best for the peace of our home and our family.
Simplification Tip #1: Don’t bribe your child.
Don’t teach your children that hard work is only worth it for a treat or a toy, but rather that working hard at something you enjoy is it’s own reward. Enthusiasm and pleasure are the reward for a job well done. I really cannot believe how common a practice this is, even my daughter’s experienced kindergarten teacher uses this practice to get kids excited to do things they don’t want to do!
Ultimately, we cannot trick our children, and when we try to bribe them we end up setting ourselves up for struggle! We also set them up for a lifetime of being unsatisfied with their efforts which can really weaken their sense of will. See a study on how destructive bribing can be by clicking here.
Bribing with sugary treats, which is the most common form of bribery I see happening between adults and children, can be very confusing to a child, and can even lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.
Simplifcation Tip #2: Answer their questions, talk to them and engage with them rather than always saying, "Go play!"
Encourage your child to ask questions. I know it can be difficult, because they have so many, and we want them to follow rules and to behave. But it’s a child’s nature to be curious and we should be encouraging that. Sometimes we get into the habit of being more focused on checking things off the to-do list that we become annoyed when our kids have questions that require an answer beyond “yes” or “no”. Let’s take the time to talk to our children and teach them to make sense of things for themselves. They need us. They don’t need educational television shows or toys nearly as much as we think they do, they learn through talking with us!
Let’s encourage connection with one another, rather than stimulation through television or too many toys.
Simplification Tip #3: Don’t over schedule her.
Be present with her. When you talk, really be there. No phone, no TV, no making grocery lists. Your presence is the most effective way you can show your child genuine love. Our culture is so focused on achievement and socialization that it makes it difficult for children to get comfortable being alone or having down time when they can really let their imagination work.
Simplification Tip #4: Focus on being in Nature as much as you focus on academics.
Academics are only one part of a child’s education. Yes, kids need their reading, writing, and arithmetic but they need time outside as well. They need good nourishment from food, and they need to feel good in their bodies in order to feel confident, believe in themselves and know their worth.
One of the best ways to do this is to spend as much time outside as possible, even if it’s not a beautiful day. Nature is balancing for all humans, and children need time outside to properly grow and develop. Be sure to balance their academic time with outdoor time and physical activity. The importance of outdoor play and it's affect on brain development is getting the attention it finally deserves, such as in this article.
Motherhood is a gift. I do my best to grow more, learn more, and love more because of it. I hope that you embrace the points from this post and it inspires your motherhood journey as much as it inspired my own.