How to Simplify With Kids

by Tammy Strobel on September 25, 2012

Editors Note: This is a guest post by Nina Nelson. She writes regularly at Shalom Mama, creating wellness through simple living. 

When I started reading RowdyKittens a couple years ago, I got the crazy idea that I could also radically simplify my life. Already close to debt-freedom, I figured one more step down the unconventional path my husband and I were already on wouldn’t hurt. In fact, it might make life even better.

Life is much simpler now – finances, possessions, health, obligations – so there’s more time to focus on what matters most. Relationships, creativity, service and freedom top our list of values.

As I write this, we are on the hunt for a school bus to convert into our new home so we can have more freedom to travel and connect with people we love.

And we’re doing all of this with four small children.

For a while, I let them be my excuse. “We can’t downsize and travel, we’ve got so many kids.” Then I realized they were my reason.

Instead of modeling a life of adventure, passion and purpose, I was teaching them to accumulate a lot of stuff and do whatever they could to stay comfortable. I just couldn’t do that to them anymore.

Simplifying with four kids wasn’t the easiest thing to do, though I imagine simplifying without four kids isn’t easy, either. But it’s doable because kids tend to be more flexible and open to whimsy and adventure than adults.

Here’s how we’ve approached simplifying with our kids:

Explain the why – then hear them out

There has to be a reason that benefits the whole family and it needs to be clearly explained. After doing so, hear out your kids’ concerns. We’ve noticed that often, our kids just want to be acknowledged.

Create a vision

Create a vision of what a simplified life will be like. Dream about places you’ll go or things you can do with your kids. Set milestones and celebrate them. The vision is a joint effort you can work toward together.

Engage them in the process

Talk to them about what you’re doing and welcome their input. Help them feel as though they are an important part of the process. Because they are.

Simplify in steps

In order for your changes to be sustainable, it helps to have a gradual shift in the new direction. As time goes by, you’ll move faster because you’ll find the benefits outweigh the discomfort of change.

Take action. Now.

What is complicating your life? How can you take action now to simplify it? Do you need to tackle the play room? Do activities need to be cut way back? Define the problem, make a plan and act.

Making the decision to simplify and taking action are the most important parts of the process. If you spend your time stressing about the details, you’ll never get started. Just take it one step at a time and enjoy the process with your family. It really does make life better.

Nina Nelson is an unconventional mom determined to live a life of adventure and purpose. She does that alongside her husband, Ian, and their four crazy, adorable kids. She loves reading, snuggling and giggling at miniature horses. She writes regularly at  Shalom Mama, creating wellness through simple living. 

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You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) Blog Tour

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