Ok so breathe in... 2 ..... 3 .... 4 .... and Out 2 .... 3 .... 4 ...
Ok so here's Plan A ... suggest the idea of Decluttering to your kids, they give you the biggest hug and kiss and tell you they think it's a wonderful idea. Then you play some music and laugh along while you both get rid of all the things they tell you are unused, no longer loved, worn out or just not needed. The they tell you that you really are the BEST Mum in the whole world.
Ok thought so.. lets just jump to Plan B then.
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 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 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.
Because we can't actually tell our kids what to do... (not if we are really interested in having them live to their fullest potential)
But we can influence them.
And the amount of influence you have over your child has everything to do with the amount of rapport and trust you have with 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.
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?
If they've approached you about this subject, 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 too. The more you try to force a child into something they don't want to do, the more resistance you will create and the less likely they'll want to know about it.
Some kids will challenge you a little more than others. And that's ok, we're all on different journeys here and we're all doing the best we can.
But what do you say to a child who is being very outspoken in their options, saying things like...
Say something along these lines..
"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.
You'll be surprised how simply reducing the resistance alone impacts your child's natural interest in things.
Well, you made it to the end. Congratulations! And now, as promised, here is your FREEBIE for sticking it out til the end. It's a game I created that's great to help build rapport among family members each night round the dinner table.
The game is made up of a series of task cards that are to be cut out and placed in a bowl. Each family member draws one out to answer.
"If you could have one Superpower, what would it be?"
Or.. "If you had to relive one day of your life so far... which day would it have been and why?"
Kids ABSOLUTELY love being asked questions like these, and even better if you share your responses with them too. You can download it on the link below.