Photo by r0Kk
I write a lot about honoring and respecting our kids as individuals and little people. But I also think that we, as parents, have more insight and knowledge about what's best for our children. They need us to make the way smooth, to provide the boundaries within which they can roam in freedom.
I compare the decluttering dilemma to children learning how to eat healthy foods. We don't feed them candy every day just because they prefer it. We know there's more going on underneath the surface of their little bodies. We provide a healthy balance.
We do the same when we declutter--we know that a culture of excess leads to a life of excess. We do what's best.
Some practical tips:
- Declutter when your child isn't around. If you're not sure if he loves something, just put it away. You can give it time to see if a child notices or misses a toy.
- Create a toy or book rotation. My children each have about a dozen books in their bedroom at a time (not hundreds). Each month they get a new dozen that have been hiding away in the basement. It's like discovering new treasure!
- Gather a pile of five things from a child's bedroom. Then tell her, "We're going to keep three of these and give two away. Which are your favorites?"
If you start these habits early, they become a natural part of a child's life. But you can start them later if you need to--it is possible and it's a worthwhile investment in your family.
More isn't better.
More is just...more.