Life can be complicated sometimes, no matter who you are or what your circumstances are. Having children can make it more difficult, as it adds responsibility and extra tasks that need to be completed as well as a whole lot of worry and emotions.
Learning how to simplify childhood is a skill we could all benefit from knowing.
As adults, we have developed the necessary skills to deal with things when life gets tricky, and we have life experience to guide us through.
Children are still learning. They have limited life experience and are still in the process of developing those all important life skills. This means that life can often become overwhelming, they can become overstimulated and overtired.
This can lead to issues with behavior, wellbeing, mental health, education and much more. As a parent, it is important that you do what you can to simplify childhood in order to protect your children from feeling overwhelmed.
We have put together this useful guide on how to simplify childhood. Keep reading to find out how.
How To Simplify Childhood
Here are our top tips on how to simplify childhood in some super easy steps.
Leave Time For Unstructured Play
As a parent you want to give your children the best opportunities in life. This makes it tempting to sign them up to lots of different activities, sports, and clubs and say yes to every playdate and party so that they are not missing out on any experiences.
However, having a really busy schedule can be overwhelming for children. Between all of these fun activities, homework, mealtimes and family time they might not get a lot of chances to just be a kid.
Having time for unstructured play is very important to simplify childhood. Time when they can just be themselves, choose their own games and activities, let their minds wander and their imagination carry them away to another place – this is what being a child is all about.
Try to make sure your child has a t least 2 hours a week of unstructured play time, but more if possible. This also gives them time to pause and process some of the information and experiences they have had.
A Tidy Space And A Tidy Mind
Living in a messy, chaotic environment can lead to stress and chaotic thoughts, which is why it is important to try and keep your home tidy.
Realistically, you don’t have time to keep your house spotless when you are raising children, but you should try to keep it relatively free from clutter.
Children make a lot of mess, but you can build tidy up time into their routine to simplify childhood for them. Make sure that they put all of their toys away before they go to bed so their play areas and their bedroom are clear and tidy ready for the next day.
Provide them with storage baskets for their toys so that tidying up is an easy and manageable task.
Too Many Toys
Having too many toys to play with can be overwhelming for a child and can be an opposite to simplifying childhood. There is so much choice that they could be overstimulated and become stressed trying to make sure they play with everything.
A lot of toys are very advanced and remove the need for the child to use their imagination which takes a lot of the fun and creative expression out of playtime.
Your child will probably get a lot of toys as gifts from friends and family members. With new toys coming regularly the old ones could get boring and take up space, and children can grow out of some toys quite quickly.
Normalize getting rid of toys after a certain amount of time to make space for the new ones rather than letting the toys pile up. Make sure your child keeps their favorite toys, or else the process could become distressing.
Sort through the toys together and decide which ones to get rid of, then take them to a charity shop or donate them to a children’s hospital. This will not only simplify your child’s life but will also teach them about sharing and doing a good thing for other people,
Another great tool to learn how to simplify childhood is to encourage self-sufficiency. Sometimes it can seem easier to just do everything for your child- it is quicker and you don’t have to answer a constant stream of questions about how to do things.
But this will actually cause you more problems as your child will become over-reliant on you. They could also become resentful as they will want to exercise independence but won’t have the skills to do so.
Teaching your child to be more self-sufficient is actually a great way to simplify their life whilst teaching them important life skills.
Things like tidying up their toys, cleaning their teeth, washing, dressing, and putting their shoes on are all activities that your child can learn to do on their own. Completing these tasks without assistance will help your child to become more confident in themselves and their ability.
As they get older you can teach them more- how to do basic household chores, how to wash a car, how to pick weeds from the lawn, and how to help take care of their younger brothers and sisters.
It is important to get the right balance between being self-sufficient and taking on too much responsibility. The running of the household is ultimately the job of the parents and the children need to be free to be young and enjoy having limited responsibility.
However, the right amount of tasks will improve their self-esteem and teach them important lessons about being part of a team and contributing to the household.
Living in a large family where everyone is here, there and everywhere can be overwhelming for both parents and children.
Communication is important, and it is a good idea to get into the habit of having breakfast together and discussing everyone’s plans for the day so you all know who is doing what.
However, children are not always going to remember the details of the discussion. This is why you should have a family calendar – a child friendly one that is easy to read. Update it with everyone’s schedules, and other information like a meal plan or chores that need doing.
This keeps everyone in the loop and if your child wants to know where someone is they can just check the calendar. This is a great method to employ on how to simplify childhood.
Relaxing Bedtime Routines
It is vital that your children get enough sleep to give them the energy they need to grow, to learn, and to play. Being overstimulated or overwhelmed can get in the way of a good night’s sleep and lead your children to become overtired.
This can cause issues with concentration and behavior.
Winding down to bedtime should be gradual. Try and avoid over stimulating activities for an hour or two before bedtime- this includes exciting television shows or energetic games.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine- perhaps a nice bath and glass of hot milk, being read a story or reading to themselves if they prefer.
Some children benefit from being ‘tucked in’, when they get to spend some quiet time with their parents in their bedroom before they go to sleep. You could listen to a chapter of an audiobook. Read together, listen to music, sing to them, or just chat calmly with them.
This moment of calm is important to separate the hectic and sometimes overwhelming events of the day from the relaxing environment of bedtime and sleep. This will ultimately make your children more at ease and help them to sleep much better and simplify their childhood.
Overplanning can be stressful and overwhelming, but being under prepared can add pressure and panic. Encouraging your child to be organized with certain things not only teaches them an important life skill but also helps to reduce their stress levels.
For example, encourage your child to get their school bag ready the night before with their reading books or completed homework. This can save a lot of time in the morning when there are a lot of other things that need to be done.
Spend Time As A Family
One of the simple joys of childhood is spending time as a family and can be a huge way to simplify childhood. Sometimes it’s fun to do something exciting- like going to a theme park or going on holiday- but the simple things are actually just as enjoyable.
You could go for a nature walk together and collect leaves or pinecones, or pick berries.
You could take a walk along the beach or along the river. You could do some baking or cook dinner together, sharing out the tasks and listening to fun music while you cook.
You could choose a movie to watch as a family and make some popcorn to share. You could have an indoor picnic on a blanket in the living room when it’s too rainy to go outside.
The point is, it doesn’t really matter what the activity is as long as you are doing it together. This family time is very important for building strong bonds and making your child feel a sense of belonging.
This kind of simple joy can help them to feel more supported as they go through life and keeps their childhood more simple.
Keep Clothing Simple
Years ago children would have their everyday clothes, and then one or two outfits for special occasions. Now, some parents don’t put their children in the same outfit twice or they have drawers and drawers of different outfits.
Wearing the same clothes can be a source of comfort for children, and keeps things much more simple. It also encourages them to not be materialistic, which is important for their happiness as they get older.
You can also teach your children to make do and mend – if a piece of clothing rips you can patch it up and they can wear it to play outside when they need scruffier clothes- it doesn’t need to be thrown away.
Take Snacks With You
Children get hungry often. They are constantly growing and using a lot of energy, and will get hungry at the most inconvenient times.
If you get caught out and about with a hungry child and you don’t have any food then your options are limited – you either go to a grocery store to try and find something suitable or you pick up some kind of fast food or unhealthy snack.
This can send the wrong message to children- that if they pester you for food when they are out they will get to eat a burger or ice cream. Those foods should be saved for special occasions and enjoyed as a family.
It is a good idea to take some healthy snacks with you from home – a sandwich or some fruit or a cereal bar. Not only is this cheaper and healthier, but it is a much more simple way to live that will benefit your children.
Limit Screen Time
There are ipads and tablets designed specifically for children, an abundance of television shows programmed for children, and lots of video and computer games that are targeted at children.
It’s no wonder that each generation of children spends more and more time in front of a screen. Whist screen time is often used as a way to simplify childhood issues for parents, it actually has the opposite effect. Too much screen time can be damaging to children.
It can slow them down in developing important life skills and social skills, it can get in the way of them using their imagination, and it can cause them to be overstimulated and overwhelmed.
Children under the age of twelve should have no more than one hour of screen time per day. Some days this should be fun television shows or games, but mix it up with some educational programmes or activities as well.
If your child is nagging you for extra screen time, redirect their attention to something else. Perhaps take them for a walk or set them up with some arts and crafts.
Spend One On One Time With Your Children
Whilst spending time as a family is important, your children will also benefit from one on one time with each parent. Make sure that each child gets this time or it could cause problems with jealousy and favoritism.
If you are looking at some handy ways on how to simply childhood, then hopefully we have covered all bases to get you started.