Mom guilt is a real thing and it is rough. Keeping track of schedules, concerts, sports and managing individual personalities is exhausting.
That’s why I’m here to tell you that you can actually be a better mom by doing less. Being a minimalist parent, I have learned to simplify as many things as I possibly can. Including how I raise my children.
I want them to grow up being productive and knowing who they are. There are 7 super simple things I have done over the years to have more independent kids that you can easily execute.
*This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission but all opinions are my own.
Let them pick their clothes
You know what makes me smile every time? A kid with a tutu, rain boots, a fireman hat and no sense of fashion. It’s amazing, and it’s what childhood should always be about.
With our oldest
Then again, I was dealing with my own self-image issues and felt like I needed to look perfect at all times.
How to simplify it:
Instead of buying clothes I thought she’d like, I let her pick out her own.
When my second daughter was born, she was very particular about what she didn’t want to wear.
No jeans. No buttoned up sweaters and absolutely NO high pony tails.
If your children know at a young age who they are and what they like, don’t discourage them!
Creating independent dressers
If you can let go of any power struggles about what your children should wear, it’s only stands to benefit everyone involved.
By letting your children pick their own clothes you can create independence in so many ways:
- You save time by allowing them to choose clothes
- No more morning power struggles to get dressed
- Your children see that you trust them
- A sense of style is born
- Let’s them have a say in their own lives
Let them “clean” with you
Some parents get offended by the idea of having their children help with chores at a young age. But let me tell you something, children want to help. They want to learn from you!
When my kids were young, they would see me wiping down furniture and they would want to help.
How to simplify it
Letting your children help with chores is easy. Whenever you find yourself cleaning, let them help.
If you’re vacuuming, let them give it a try when you’re done. Doing dishes? Hand them a sponge!
I know my children loved helping me wipe down our furniture! They always wanted to help me clean, so I’d wet down a wash clock and let them clean!
I’d wet them down a washcloth and let them clean.
Was this super helpful to me? Did it help me cut back my cleaning time? No! But it started to teach them independence and it benefited me big time later in life!
Creating independent helpers
It may have taken patience or extra effort on my part to let my children help me “clean” when they were younger, but it has paid off big time!
So much so that at the ages of 7 and 8 they started their own “dog poo” business on our block. Because when you let your kids help clean they learn:
- A household needs everyone to help
- Mom is not superwoman
- The tools to be helpful when they are older
- We all need to work sometimes
- Care and appreciation for their home and their things
Our youngest children are 7 and 8 and each morning they get .10 cents for making their bed. Whoopteedoo! (possible incorrect spelling.)
Doing this gave them motivation to make their beds and that is a habit I definitely want to instill in them at a young age.
Sometimes life gets so rushed,
After a long day of working or
Maybe not crucial, but it’s definitely a necessary life skill that too many people don’t have!
How to simplify it
Letting your kids help you cook doesn’t have to take a long time. Just by letting them crack an egg, mash potatoes or preheat the oven is all it takes.
Kids learn so much by watching and then being more hands on. Just being involved in the process is going to benefit them big time. Plus, they get bonus time with you.
Creating independent chefs
So what are the perks? How can these little ways of helping cook benefit your kids (and you)?
- Learn life skills for adulthood
- More likely to help you when they’re older
- How to Keep a Clean House With the Least Amount of Effort
- 26 Ways to Get More Time Back in Your Day
- How to Stop Running Errands
Buy less toys
One year my husband and I stood in Black Friday lines to get our oldest (and at the time only) daughter an Xbox Kinect.
She had always wanted one so we made sure to get it for her. Guess what? It never got played with.
We felt so frustrated that we had wasted our money on something she said she wanted.
Years later, I’ve had the epiphany of why she never played it and why she wanted it in the first place. Whenever we had played it, we were with a group of people.
My husband and I would join in, the kids would play and we would all laugh together. We were together. That’s what it meant to her.
It meant togetherness and fun and laughter.
We totally missed the point. She didn’t want to play it by herself. She wanted to play it with us. I wish we would have caught on sooner.
When major gift-giving seasons are upon you, like Christmas and birthdays, have a game plan for how much you want to spend and for what types of things you want to spend your money on.
That might mean one gift for Christmas and
There are so many studies these days that back up the fact that fewer toys will make your kids happier and more independent:
- Longer attention spans
- Better imaginations
- More appreciation for their posessions
- Less fighting over toys
- Get outside and play more
Let them fail
This is probably the hardest one of them all. No one wants to see their children suffer. It’s never enjoyable to know they are struggling, but it is important that you let them sometimes.
Sit back and observe and be right there to support them and talk them through it when the time comes.
I’m not saying your children are completely on their own. They need your guidance, but they don’t need constant hovering. Allowing them to fail when they are younger will allow them to bounce back better when they are adults.
Let them fail that science project they didn’t complete.
Step back when they get into an argument on the playground.
Watch them get frustrated when a project isn’t going their way.
Life if going to hand us all failures. Kids who learn to fail learn to overcome and eventually succeed. They learn that the world is going to knock them down sometimes and their only choice is to get back up.
Failing on their own
As I said, this isn’t just feeding your child to the wolves and letting them figure it all out. It’ just sitting back and letting failure happen sometimes. Instead of picking up all the pieces for them, just be a shoulder to cry on and a voice of guidance. Doing this can prove to be so beneficial. They will learn:
- True independence
- How to overcome adversity
- Better work ethic
- How to survive without you
- Better handle future struggles
Let them play alone
Play with your kids! Absolutely you should play with them. Be silly, jump around, color, read, do puzzles, play games and then sometimes…don’t.
I get the most joy from my kids when I leave them alone. Totally alone.
I get my work done in the morning. Since my son is usually up with the sun, this means he spends an hour or so completely unsupervised in the living room. The result is usually some crazy, new invention he’s made from our recycling bin boxes and bottles.
He has created Ghostbuster backpacks with attached ghost sucking guns, time machines, robots and space ships. I am proud every single time.
Simplifying alone time
Let your kids get bored. It’s not your job to entertain 24/7. When they are bored, offer some suggestions and then tell them to find something to do (that isn’t in front of a screen.)
I guess it might seem pretty obviously how playing alone can encourage independent children. Here are some of the top ways.
- Promotes self love and acceptance
- Developes independence
- Teaches self-soothing
- Allows them to get creative on their own
Keep living your life
Lastly Mama, and I know you’ve heard it before, you must take care of yourself.
Chances are you are putting everyone before you, but really you could be doing a lot of damage in the process.
If you are nurturing your children’s creativity, but letting your own slip away, you are telling them that it’s ok to let their talents go to waste. It’s ok to show your children that you yourself are independent. That you have your own hopes and dreams outside of being their caretaker.
Simplifying your life
What is it that you really love to do? Carve time out of your days so that you can start to make those things happen.
It’s ok to put your kids in daycare for a day if you’re home with them all week. Let them see what an amazing independent person you are. Doing this will remind them that it’s ok for them as well.
So what are the benefits for everyone when you start taking care of yourself?
- Better parenting
- Smoother transition into “empty nesting”
- Children see and learn from your independence
- Encourages independence for children when they are away from you
- Reminds your children to never forget to care for themselves as well as others