Minimalist Parenting


About four years ago, I embarked on my minimalist journey when my best friend introduced me to the culture of less. Over coffee and cake, she mentioned The Minimalists podcast, only for me to get hooked on it around half a year later.

Since then, I have invested significant energy and time to achieve a more meaningful life. I have been incorporating many of the principles of minimalism in my life, and I even started my own blog!

Minimalism is not just about the stuff; it is about how to live a life with less. Less stress, fewer items, less or no debt, less unrealistic expectations, less mental clutter.

We live with less, so we can have more. More time, energy, quality in relationships, serenity, fulfilment, and productivity.

During my minimalism journey, I became a mother, and one too many times, I have heard that parenting and minimalism don’t go together. “It’s all nice and simple until you have a child -you’ll see.” is a phrase I have been hearing rather often. 

And while my son is only two years old, I can confirm that minimalist parenting exists and is less perplexing than one may think. Like everything worthwhile, minimalist parenting requires intentionality, awareness and hard work to stay committed to your goals and values.

It becomes hard to let go of whatever is acquired through hard work. We value more the things for which we have tried the hardest.

How to apply minimalism in parenting
  1. Less stuff, more creativity. Parents often mistakenly associate the amount of things with their child’s happiness. The more toys a child has, the more content it will feel. According to a study published in 2018 in the Infant Behaviour and Development Journal, “…when provided with fewer toys in the environment, toddlers engage in longer periods of play with a single toy, allowing better focus to explore and play more creatively.” An excess of toys provides an excess of choices, leading to indecisiveness, frustration, stress, anger and confusion. On the contrary, when children are given limited stuff, hence restricted options, they can feel more confident selecting and content with their choice.
  2. Let the kids get bored. Less activities, more time for creativity. We often fall into the trap of providing constant entertainment to our kids to keep them busy. We perceive their boredom as our failure to parenting. But boredom is so underestimated! Boredom can spark their creativity and encourage them to explore their skills, passions, likes and dislikes. Boredom makes children resourceful.
  3. Less stuff, more serenity. A decluttered and intentionally curated home offers space for tranquillity and meaningful actions. Imagine coming home to a fully saturated environment with numerous knickknacks and furniture. Visual clutter is also a form of jumble that affects us mentally. A stuffed room leaves less or no space for serenity. A peaceful mind allows for creativity and fulfilment.
  4. Limited choices, higher decisiveness. You are hungry; you open the fridge and stare at it for a long. You close the fridge and are now hungry, frustrated, and overwhelmed. But what if you were given two meal options to choose from? Why, that would be much easier and more efficient. The same principle applies to offering children multiple choices of toys or entertainment. Many parents perceive the principle of limited choice as encroaching on their children’s freedom and obstructing their development. On the contrary, children face severe challenges in deciding when presented with vast options, while their confidence in decision-making can be shattered. Less choice leads to more informed decisions and, therefore, less frustration.
  5. More space in the calendar, less stress. After my maternity leave, I returned to work full-time and in a position of high responsibility, allowing limited space for family in my calendar. Therefore, I intentionally reserve the weekends for my family by significantly limiting social engagements. I intend to replace the stress that usually exists during the weekdays with quality time for my loved ones. Children need time to rest and a break from the stress of daily life, exactly like us. I choose to prioritise my and my family’s mental health over a packed social calendar.

Minimalist parenting is about removing the excess to allow more space for our children to explore and experience a meaningful life while feeling safe and supported.

Parenting is not about offering twenty-four-seven entertainment to our kids. It is about creating the conditions for them to build worthwhile relationships and gain meaningful experiences without feeling the stress of missing out. Simple, minimal, intentional.

1 thought on “Minimalist Parenting”

  1. Liebe Ioanna, das gefällt mir sehr, was du über Minimalismus in Bezug auf Spielzeug und Sachen in der Wohnung schreibst. Als kleiner Tipp hättest du noch schreiben können, dass, wie du das schon machst, wenn das Kind manchmal mehr Geschenke bekommt, als man selber für gut findet, man dieses Spielzeug auch abwechselnd dem Kind anbietet, dass es nicht immer alles auf einmal hat. Das finde ich eine sehr gute Möglichkeit.

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