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Declutter Your Child Rearing Practices

Posted by mlkropp on Jan 4, 2016 in Child Rearing, Recent | 2 comments

Declutter Your Child Rearing Practices

As we begin a new calendar year, it is only natural to stop and take stock of our lives and habits. We reflect on our priorities, our use of time and our accomplishments. We take a look at what we have done and accumulated over the past year, and many of us resolve to make changes going forward and perhaps begin a process of decluttering in our lives. If we tweak a little here and cull a little there, we tell ourselves, we will see big changes in the year ahead.

As parents, we may stop and reflect on our children’s progress and development. In an interesting juxtaposition of circumstances, this introspection largely occurs at the tail end of the holidays when families have been out of their regular routines, cooped up and living out the consequences of the season of gift giving, junk-food eating, media indulgence.

Is it possible to make clear-headed decisions regarding our future goals and habits during this haze of holiday cheer? Are we doomed to set unrealistic goals for both ourselves and our children that are sure to fail before the end of January? We may feel as though we’d like to throw away every plastic toy in the house as it might feel easier than cleaning and organizing the mess we are confronted with. We might want to enroll our children in every class and sport imaginable if only to keep them occupied and active. Some of us may wish to enroll our children in programs resembling obedience training and ourselves in parenting classes.

However enjoyable (or stressful) the holidays might be, it is good to keep in mind that our current reality as the New Year dawns is not permanent. Routines will resume. Bedtimes should be reinstated. Eventually, the house can be cleaned and restored to its usual state. Someday, we will be able to take a deep breath and sit down alone in a quiet place with a steaming mug in our hand. This moment of solitude, perhaps a week or two into the New Year when life has resumed its regular rhythm, is an ideal time re-evaluate our child-rearing practices and family priorities.

However, this year, instead of adding to the ever increasing burden of things we should be doing as parents, we might consider reducing our work and guilt loads. It seems that articles and books are published on a daily basis telling us how busy life has become and how stressed we all are – including our children. We read that our stress and busyness can lead to depression, disease, and that we and our children will reap long term health consequences as result of our current lifestyles. These doom and gloom pieces cause increased worry, but all too often we continue on as before.

Declutter Your Child Rearing Practices

This New Year, as you finally take some time for solitude and reflection, ask yourself what you can eliminate. Look at your family schedule. Evaluate your routines. Prioritize your children’s activities and the formal instruction in which they are enrolled. Take out an imaginary red pen and start slashing. Picture yourself cutting out one activity (or more) for each family member. Deliberately set aside a half day (or more) of the weekend to consciously block out time for nothing. Start small. Incorporate incremental changes instead of going for a drastic overhaul.

As you think about how you can simplify your family’s schedule, ask yourself how you can declutter your child rearing practices. We often think of decluttering as having to do with stuff. Perhaps we can expand its definition as we consider ways to declutter our child rearing practices. Ask yourself how you can declutter the following areas for your children and yourself:







Media Consumption

Less can be more when we make subtle changes to our daily to-do lists that might include:

Make eye-contact with my child.

Play with my child for five minutes.

Give my child 30 minutes of outdoor time (school recess does not count).

Turn off the tv and play music instead.

What ideas come to your mind as you consider decluttering your child rearing practices and doing more with less? Please add your ideas to the list started above by posting them in the comments.



Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Karen

    Involve children with meal planning and preparation
    Replace one activity for each child with a volunteer service project as a family
    Read a book aloud as a family, taking turns with each chapter
    Have everyone clean the house manically for fifteen minutes; take turns choosing Music to Clean By
    Implement a device sunset – all phones, tablets, etc get put away (adults, too!) at a certain time each evening (create a family charging station)

    • mlkropp

      I love these ideas! I keep meaning to start reading aloud with my teens again. And the cleaning blitz set to music is great too! Thanks, Karen.


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