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5 Things Kids Don’t Need, But Parents Still Stress Over

As parents, we need to stop stressing over these 5 things kids don’t need, and focus on what they really do need from us.

I accidently and unintentionally did an experiment recently with my children.

Subject one: My oldest son. He had the typical upbringing of any first child. We had a red-carpet worthy first birthday party (and equally fancy parties in subsequent years).

He wore new, themed outfits when we went on our well planned out and scheduled excursions to the museum, the zoo, and the amusement park. (Literally he wore a safari outfit to the zoo when he was 8 months old).

And if he looked bored for one second, I considered myself a failure of a mom.

Then there is subject two: my third child. His early birthday parties were cake with immediate family (if we had time).

“Activities” usually consisted of playing at the baseball field while his brother or sister had practice – wearing hand-me downs and shoes (only if he decided to keep them on his feet).

The simple fact that test subject one and test subject two are equally as happy, and that test subject two is, in fact, more resilient, calm, and incredibly easy-going than test subject one made me consider the question:

What do kids really need?

Related: How to Hardwire Kids for Happiness

Parents, Stop Stressing Over These 5 Things

Listen, if you can do it all, that’s great.

But for those of us who are struggling with busy schedules, mom guilt, and a feeling of overwhelm, it helps to know that stressing over these things is not worth our time.

things kids don't need in life

1) Expensive Themed Parties

This year, I didn’t have the money, time (and frankly the energy) to throw my 6 year old a big birthday party.

I beat myself up about this for over a week. I had no well-thought-out themes, expensive party favors, or extraordinary events.

For his party, we picked up 3 friends, let them pick out something from the dollar store, get a McDonald’s Happy Meal, and then sing Happy Birthday back at our house.

I braced for rejection when I told him this idea prior to picking up his friends. He replied with “Are you kidding me? Is this for real? That sounds like the best party every!’

And he did have the best party ever.

Related: 5 Things it took me having a third kid to learn

2) Fancy Crafts and Activities

For years, I struggled with an internal battle over doing crafts.

On social media and Pinterest I see glittery craft ideas and creative homemade games.

When I tried to do crafts with my kids, I became frustrated over the mess and the lack of interest from my kids. A truly artistic-driven child will create their own art projects, they don’t need forced to make a pinecone wreath with their mom.

For us non-crafty moms, let’s agree to throw this out the window.

3) Constant Activities

Now that my children are getting older, they love sports and activities.

This wasn’t always the case. However, the old me felt that I still had to enroll my three year old in soccer if I wanted to be a good mom.

Every weekend, we would drag him, kicking and screaming onto the soccer field. My husband would bribe him to participate, and we would leave feeling absolutely defeated.

In reality, we all just wanted free time – or family time without the stress factor.

I know you may feel that your kid needs all these opportunities, but if no one is enjoying it then give it a break.

You May Also Like: 5 Benefits of Moderate Screen Time Usage for Kids

4) Sparkling clean house

Your kids don’t need shiny floors or gourmet dinners. They need these 8 things instead.

Instead of stressing about the state of your home, remember how fast these years will go. AND that the mess will always be there.

Related: How to Reconnect with Your kid When You Feel Like a Crappy Mom

5) Hours of one-on-one time

Research shows that short bursts of focused time can help you strengthen relationships, feel more at peace, and bring joy to your family.

Don’t be hard on yourself if your aren’t giving your child hours of direct attention.

Make your kid feel notably special in under 10 minutes a day with this method.

Final Thoughts on Things Kids Don’t Need

This school of thought was re-confirmed this week. My kids all had to design a “100th day of School” shirt to wear in Kindergarten.

For my first son, we spent house working on a t-shirt with 100 cut out pictures of his face on it. It was expensive, time-consuming, and, well, itchy.

For my youngest, we got a few bingo stampers and he dapped it on his shirt a hundred times and he had a blast.

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Bare Minimum or Lazy Parenting Strips out the Unnecessary and Focuses on What Matters - Simply Rooted Family

Friday 22nd of April 2022

[…] Related: 5 Things Parents Stress Over that Kids Don’t Need […]

Renata -

Wednesday 26th of January 2022

I love this post. I was a single mom, hence, the pressure was even higher since there was this urge to make up for being...a single mom. I think it's normal and therefore, posts like this one are so important :-)


Wednesday 26th of January 2022

I used to stress about some of these. It just simply isn't possible to keep on top of everything. We have activities but not every day.


Wednesday 26th of January 2022

My son is an adult now but I remember feeling the guilt of never feeling like I lived up to the expectations of what the perfect mom should be. As a single mom who worked full time, I remember feeling like my house was always too messy or I should have done more, spent more money, etc. I now know that the things I stressed over were not important. The time we spent together, the stories we read, the outings we did; even if they were just to the park or to play in the backyard were the important things.


Wednesday 26th of January 2022

I can't thank you enough for this sweet reassurance!

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