Ok so breathe in... 2 ..... 3 .... 4 .... and Out 2 .... 3 .... 4 ...
There's no getting around it. This may prove somewhat... uh.... challenging!
Challenging maybe... But far from impossible!
If your child has dug their heels in about getting rid of any of their toys or belongings, (or if they're a certified hoarder) you can turn it all around. (Believe me, I've been there!)
What's important to always in mind is that, this is going to be a massive lifestyle change this is for them. So while you are going to have a lot of things on your agenda here, you'll need to be considerate of their feelings. Listen to them, understand their point of view and take on board their concerns and what they are saying. Imagine someone came into your house one day and forced you to get rid of your belongings! (I'm sure there'd be a fair bit of resistance!)
So definitely don't yell, don't nag and try not to tell them what to do! All this will do is build resistance so that they'll never open up to the idea. The lecturing and nagging really need to stop if you are to inspire this change.
It's really important to be upbeat and positive about decluttering with your kids. Remember, you're trying to inspire them to want to live this kind of lifestyle, you're not trying to force them into it. The worst thing to do is to go into their room one day, guns blazing, telling them they need to get rid of at least half of what they own!
Remember your goal. What you’re trying to achieve with your kids is for them to enjoy a life with less, to be grateful and mindful. To be left with the items they absolutely love and to get rid of excess clutter.
And these qualities can only be inspired not enforced. Besides...
You can't actually tell your kids what to do...
But you can influence them.
And the amount of influence you can have over your child has everything to do with the amount of rapport and trust you have with them. (And rapport and trust are mostly built when you give your time, energy and attention to them.)
Minimalism will give you the time and energy you need to do this in spades, but if you want a little short cut to building instant rapport each night at the dinner table, I've got a little gift you're gonna LOVE at the end of this blog post.
In fact, I've got a couple of gifts at the end you'll love...
When you're decluttering, you need to start with your own belongings. There are a number of reasons for this, primarily because you want to strengthen your intuitive decision maker and this is best done before you get to the emotional items. Starting with your own things also allows you to know the system and also the emotions associated with decluttering so that you’ll be able to pass the skills onto your children so much easier later.
It's also vital, because your kids will take more notice of what you're doing more than they will about what you're saying. So, in the beginning, it's going to influence them enormously if they see you decluttering and then reaping the rewards in the process.
When they watch the way you go about decluttering your belongings, they'll pick up on the benefits. The space, the energy change, the ease and enjoyment it brings. They won't say much, but it will register. But before this, your child will likely see the house hold items strewn everywhere and they'll ask you what the heck you are doing?
This is the conversation you really want to take advantage of.
If they've approached you about it, they're actually going to be interested in what you have to say! So decide in advance how you will respond.
What you say in these moments will be very powerful!
Be open and honest but talk about the benefits that decluttering GIVE YOU. (they will relate it to themselves without you having to say a word.) In fact, I wouldn't even mention them or their belongings.
Don't expect them to jump in and begin decluttering their items, (they won't). They're going to need to observe and experience several times that this will really benefit them before they'll want to take any action. (The number they need will depend on a lot of factors. Age, current feelings towards decluttering, amount of rapport you have with them.. just to name a few.) Your goal in the beginning is only to plant seeds. Don't launch into the benefits or lecture them on how their room is a mess, it'll only make things more difficult later on.
J.u.s.t. p.l.a.n.t. s.e.e.d.s.
Seeds that will inspire and encourage a more energising way of living.
More powerful than any lecture you'll ever give is the feeling they'll get of being in decluttered spaces that you've worked on. They will feel the difference. Everyone does. The energy changes. And quite often, repeating and stacking these two very simple things (as well as eliminating any resistance) is all you will need to do to begin.
I learned this lesson the hard way. My daughter would 'shut off' the minute I began lecturing her on the benefits of decluttering. I could just see it on her face. But she was a big "question asker" and I realised that my approach was what had to change. Not her.
What got through to her was when she wallked into her bathroom after it had been decluttered. I had been so inspired about it, I got a glass and put some fresh cut roses next to the sink, and it really did feel fresh and inviting to be in there. I heard her from the kitchen when she walked in... ‘Woah Mum this looks like a hotel!...’ She then ran to the kitchen to start putting dishes away, she said ‘Lets make the kitchen look like we’re in a hotel too...’
Give yourself time with this. Give your kids time with this. Some kids will challenge you a little more with this. If you do feel a little bit of resistance with your kids and they mention it...
"Oh I'd never want to get rid of my stuff" etc..
The best approach is not to reject their thoughts, but to align yourself with them!
"Yeah I know how you feel. I felt the same way once. But I got to a point where I just wanted to be around only the things I love the most. By the way I’m not throwing out anything I love. If I want to keep it – I’m going to make sure I put it somewhere on show so I can appreciate it."
Or words to this effect that suit your parenting style.
WELL! Congratulations... you made it to the end of this blog post.
AND, as promised, here is your free gift.
Here are 48 conversation starters designed to build quick rapport and have fun with your kids!