But I must add here a disclaimer. That I have no kids myself. And though I often advocate an extreme minimalist lifestyle, I recognize, that with kids it’s probably best you don’t live homeless. Doing so alone, the dangers are enough. From which kids should be guarded at all costs, any dangers at-all.
But that is not to say, that with kids you can’t survive simply, with very little like a minimalist. You can, certainly. I’m positive—only speculating. Though I do have nieces and nephews, and plenty of young cousins afterall. So I do know something of the nature of children.
And their nature is like anyone’s. Connection they crave most of all, kids. And at their most basic level, they need fed of course, kept warm, with plenty of sleep.
Besides, there’s not much else kids need. If they’ll be given attention, they’ll be happy for the most part, all the rest their basic needs met. Nevermind all the toys and trinkets. Which kids—especially—can—or must—do without.
Eventhough Tom and Dick and Cindy and Jane, their kids have entire rooms stuffed full of toys. And every other commercial on the television is geared toward kids. So that then, even your very own kids, persuaded more easily by the TV, are attempting to persuade you to buy them this, and that, and that, and that, and that—and it never ends.
But they don’t need it, any of the junk on TV. I recommend you don’t have a TV too, even. These things—all the trinkets and toys and TV—destroy imagination. Which must, like everything else about a kid, be allowed to grow.
Eventhough it seems kids have an abundance of imagination, it can be stunted by stagnation. I hypothesize. And TV and toys dull the imagination. Especially during a time at which it should possibly be most cultivated, the imagination, as kids.
Memories of my own childhood I recall. And I loved my action figures and all my toys and art supplies and all that. But what I most vividly remember enjoying as a kid, was pretending to be Batman or Superman or some other super hero or something, visualizing and creating situations in my own mind in which to act.
So as a kid, the things I created in my mind appealed much more to me than the things made in China. But all kids are not me. Though if you’ll observe, even playing with one toy or trinket or another, kids seem more apt to drift-off into their mind, pretending and creating what worlds they will. And it does appear a skill most kids have. Which skill should be cultivated than ignored and replaced. Because in my experience, I’ve found it the most pleasurable skill practiced, use of imagination.
It’s the society in which we live—capitalistic—which makes us believe, that for a kid to be happy—or anyone, for-that-matter—they need this, or this, or this, or that. For the profit of those selling. And by participating in this society naturally, as capitalistic as it currently stands, we’re bombarded with the message, that more is, in fact, more—better. When in contrast, the opposite mantra, that less is actually more, feels more really to contain the truth of the thing.
And just like you,—as a parent living like a minimalist—without the distractions of modern society, all the junk on which to waste your money, you approach sooner inner peace and contentment living like a minimalist, kids do the same. Or that’s the thought anyway. By buying our kids all types of gadgets and toys, we actually do them harm, in the name of attempting to make them happy. Which we’re marketed-to to do. When the nearer path to happiness is to learn to be content with nothing than constant accumulation of things in order to build that same happiness and contentment.
As babies, all kids do is eat, sleep, shit, and cry. Which doesn’t require much, all the fancy gadgets especially. And as they grown, kids need a bit more activity to keep occupied. So give them activity then.
Go for walks. Go to the park. Let your kid learn to play with other kids. Interaction. Connection. Get outside. Look at the flowers. Play in the snow. Smell the breeze. Cultivate creativity early. Imagination. Read stories. Paint pictures. Draw. Fill the day with activity. Let the kids decide what to do, when, and for how long—with non-consumptive options like these.
TV and toys and video games are all made to be absorbing, distracting. They steal your attention, provide a solution to boredom, to silence, in which is exactly where the seat of contentment lies. If anything, all these things should be used only as an absolute last resort to fill the time. Not primary activities, which they so often become, consuming, watching TV, playing video games. Which is verily what they’re designed to do, to keep you buying more of the sugary sweets—more TV, toys, and video games—to feed the addiction created avoiding boredom and silence.