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Simplify for Family Balance

How is Family Balance Affected When You Simplify?

SimplifyKidsToys-ShirinSherkatThis is the final article in a 4-part series of articles about creating a balanced family life. The first article is: How do You Create a Balance in Your Family Life?  The second is: Add Balance to Family Life With Quality Time  The third article is: Why is Family Dinner Time Important?

Today’s article will discuss getting rid of the complicated and simplify.

What do I mean by “simplify”? This little word has so much power! Our world and lives are complicated enough without us adding more to them daily. I prescribe healthy doses of “Simplicity” to help you create more balance.

I’ll share with you one of my most personal lessons. I have loved the power of simplicity in my life for decades. My husband and I enjoy a minimalist lifestyle. Everyone who walks into our home is touched by how serene, clean, simple, uncluttered, and almost empty our place is when it comes to “stuff”. Instead, it is filled with warmth, comfort, pictures of loved ones, and beauty. This effect is by choice, not an accident.

Going through graduate school (while I was working many jobs and studying intensely) gave me little time to decorate or accumulate stuff. I also found it easier to organize, clean, and keep it that way, when I had less “stuff”. So, I made a choice to live my life that way. I focused on more important things like school, my studies, research, family, friends, fun, my husband, sports, and my hobbies. I discovered that when my environment remained clear of clutter and “stuff”, I was able to think more clearly and accomplish so much more.

I respect the fact that everyone is different. I love the diversity among my friends’ tastes and lifestyles. I definitely don’t believe everyone would be happy living in homes of minimalist design. What I am suggesting is to simplify your life more and enjoy the benefits.

Successfully Achieve Simplicity:

  • First, Prioritize! Focus on what is most important.
  • Then, Learn to say, “No” more often. You can’t please everyone.
  • Remove clutter from your space. You’ll be amazed by its positive impact.
  • Get rid of unnecessary items, wherever they may be stored. Have a garage sale! You’ll make some cash and feel lighter.

Most importantly: Decrease the number of toys that surround your kids. Top reasons why this is so important to your child’s well-being:

  1. Children can learn to appreciate, respect, and value what they already have.
  2. Children can accept that they already have what they need.
  3. Children can learn not to give into peer pressure and consumerism.
  4. Children will spend more time creating, engaging in social and pretend play instead of playing with toys that are limited to one function.
  5. Children will have a chance to use their imaginations and engage in healthy and diverse imaginative play.
  6. KidsToys-ShirinSherkatChildren surrounded by too many toys (that they never get around to playing with), wind up wanting more, valuing less, and adopting wasteful attitudes.
  7. Children who feel over-indulged end up feeling entitled and respecting material possession over what’s important in life.
  8. Children can learn to conserve, share with people who are not as privileged, and respect the money (you have) spent on the toys they already own.
  9. You can save money! You can spend that money on doing activities with your children.
  10. Children feel less over-stimulated and can attend to each activity more deeply, when they are surrounded by less clutter.

Steps to simplify by decreasing the amount of toys in your child’s environment.

  1. KidsToyStorage-SherinShirkatFor each child, create a space no bigger than a typical toy chest and a small shelved-case, and designate it as the only area for your kid’s games/toys. Use the size of this space as a guideline. What each kid keeps should fit into his or her individual space.
  2. Designate a separate space with a box (or boxes) that will hold what you’re going to donate. Set up another box for items that are good enough to sell or give as a gift.
  3. Designate ONE box for toys that will be stored separately and rotated in/out every few weeks or months. When those toys come back into play, your kids will appreciate them so much more. This rotation method also helps elongate the toys’ lives.
  4. Prioritize what your kid needs. Involve your kid in this process and explain what the rules are before “getting rid of” any special toys.
  5. Involve your kids in the process of donating and giving to others. The teachable moments in this process are invaluable.
  6. Set a good example, and model the same behavior with your own stuff. Allow your kids to see that you occasionally donate your old clothes and some of your favorite things to charity (practice what you preach.)

Creating balance in your life brings more joy and peace. But most importantly, it prevents you from feeling over-stressed, overwhelmed, and resentful. I hope that by following some of these suggestions you’ll end up enjoying the home and family that you love so much!

This is an excerpt from my book: “Create Happy Kids”

Dr. Sherkat is a parent strategist who is available to do Parent Education Workshops, either Private or PTA Sponsored Classes.

Contact her at 425-772-6698.