Like all parents, I often wonder how much is too much. When I first saw my older child nonchalantly dismissing the importance of a pencil, gifts, games, bags, clothes that we had bought or she had received as gifts at a birthday party, it made me stop and think. I have lost count of the number of times I have told my kids, “You have no value for things. When we were young we use to keep things so carefully, neatly packed in old mithai boxes.” My husband and I have discussed whether our children will ever develop a sense ofÂ value for the things they own. Will they ever value what they have?
These are fundamental questions every parent should ask. I have wondered aloud and shared my thoughts with those who are blessed with abundance. Like celebrities whose kids want for nothing. When your kids have a lot of everything, how do you teach them to value their belongings?
As this question haunts me every step of the way, I have been careful never to buy too many things. When it comes to my kids, toys were always kept in check. Books, I have always indulged them and over time I am happy to see that my children live minimalist lives and are happy with it.
This decision has made me happy too. In so many ways! These are the benefits I foresee:
1. It will teachÂ kids to be creative: The imagination today’s children have will surprise you. My kids have made balloons into babies and dolls, hairdryers into phones, tissue rolls into pen holders and delivery boxes into their doll houses.
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2. They willÂ not be materialistic: They willÂ rarely be affected by what others have, or rather what they don’t have. If they find that they need something, they just draw and create it! My 7 year old thinks she can create literally anything and I am so happy that my 3 year old thinks her didiÂ (elder sister) is a magician and can draw and make something out of nothing for her each time.
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3. They will not get the gimmies: Every parent is familiar with theÂ tantrums their kids throw when they want things. This method will eliminate those awful moments.
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4. They prefer the outdoors to indoors: Kids willÂ love hanging around at the park, collecting pinecones, twigs, flowers and creating something. The thought of going outdoors and spending time together will be highly valued.
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5. Fewer things means less cluttered homes: We all know the importance of maximising storage. Fewer number of toys definitely means less clutter.
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6. They willÂ never be bored: Your kids will be happy with what they have or will devise ways to make what they don’t have. This will entertain them for hours and they will not require constant attention.
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7. Recycle and Reuse: Old toys don’t simply get thrown away. They get a second life when they are turned into something new.
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8. Do not carry toys on holidays or to restaurants: Â Let them figure out their own toys or enjoy what they can find locally.
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9. The art of being detached: They willÂ never develop a strong sense of attachment with their toys and see it simply as a source of entertainment.
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10. Developing other interests: Maybe they will learn a new hobby or strengthen their love for reading when they have fewer toys to play with.
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