Does Having Less Stuff Make Your Kids More Grateful?

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Thanks to Marie Kondo people are now tidying up their homes at an alarming rate. And while tidying up may bring you joy, it's also bringing a lot of parents anxiety over just how much stuff they have. Many are commenting that the act of tidying up their homes and getting rid of things they no longer need is simply shedding a much-needed light on the fact that they, and especially their kids, simply have way too much stuff.

With the new year upon us, many parents are taking the opportunity to purge unused and unneeded items from their homes, even if they aren't following the Marie Kondo method. Joshua Becker, the Founder, and Editor of Becoming Minimalist recently told the TODAY Parenting Team that having less stuff not only makes your home feel less overwhelmed, but it also helps to create more grateful children.

Becker pointed out the astonishing reality that an average 10-year-old owns 238 toys! Even more shocking is that they only play with an average of a dozen daily. That's a lot of toys that are simply sitting around. He also pointed out that Americans spend an average of just over $370 a year on toys per child. Basically, parents are spending a lot of money on toys for their children that aren't even being played with.

Becker suggests that parents are really to blame for their kids having so much stuff, not only because in many cases they're doing the buying, but because parents also have a lot of stuff. He states that the average home in the United States has around 300,000 items, so it's natural that children feel it's normal to simply acquire things. "If we, as parents, are constantly desiring and accumulating things we don’t need, why would we expect anything else from our kids?" he wrote.

He also stressed that by having fewer stuff parents are teaching children to truly value what they have, making them more grateful and less selfish. "Our kids need to learn the value of boundaries. If we don’t give them a sense of how much is too much, they’ll just keep wanting more and more," he wrote.

"When we model and guide our children to establish healthy boundaries in regards to the things they own, we open them up to a life of gratitude and generosity. When we begin the practice early of donating our unused tools and toys to those in need, it becomes a natural way to live for them. When we teach our children that our money and time can be worth more than the relentless pursuit of material possessions, we prepare them for a lifetime of giving themselves to others," he said.

While not everyone wants or needs to live a minimalist lifestyle, there are valid lessons to be learned from Becker's approach and Kondo's. If parents are in the habit of over shopping and overspending, it will be only natural for children to also want more and more, regardless of need. It seems that following Marie Kondo's tidying up advice may not only make your home a joyful place, but it will also allow you to set an example for your children that being grateful for what you have is what's important, not constantly wanting more. Reducing the amount of stuff in your house will not only make your kids more grateful for what they have but will probably make the parents more grateful as well.

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