Families quickly accumulate excess ‘stuff’ when a baby first appears on the scene. Apart from a lot of love, healthy food, appropriate clothing, and a safe place to sleep, there really isn’t all that much our little ones need (despite the many Must Have lists out there!). Spend your money wisely on products or playthings that have proven to be the most useful necessities, or have extended play value beyond the first few years. We have limited our Family Basics products to the 25 top picks among our staff, customers and experienced parents.
We’re surrounded by stuff and nonsense. When I think of the difference between the stuff I acquired for my first baby and the way I let go of stuff for my second, I see the gap between the sincere intention to be a good parent and enough experience to know that I could do it without props.
There are cool tools out there in parenting land, but everyone doesn’t need the same cool tools. Our needs vary, so our appropriate stuff levels vary. There are a few rules to keep in mind, though.
- All of us can probably make do with less than we think we can.
- Multi-function tools that we can grow into will serve us better and longer than single-function tools we can grow out of.
- Reusable stuff is better than non-reusable stuff.
- Just because materials are new and revolutionary doesn’t mean they are essential to a sustainable future.
Remember, the stuff that you bring into your family while your children are young is important not just for what it does now but for how it will influence the future. We create our children’s patterns of thinking and acting as we model life for them. If we want our children not to be consumed by marketing, it helps if we aren’t consumed ourselves. If we want our children to value people and relationships over stuff, it helps if we do.
Only a few of our products are so necessary to parenting that we have called them Family Basics. These are the useful necessities with extended value.
Our family basics fall into several categories: health with natural hand purifier by Clean George, creativity with non-toxic art supplies by Clementine Art Natural, household and personal cleaning with Bummas reusable wipes, and play with colorful playsilks.
Play cloths are the perfect toy, the kid example of multi-functional stuff that encourages a child’s creativity and resourcefulness. I have noticed this week that my children, on the edge of their teen years, are using several play cloths as rivers of water and lava around which they have built elaborate villages with other playcloths creating walls in their rooms. The same play cloths have been essential toys for my children since they were babies.
Our play cloths are 100% natural silk, in a dozen colors dyed with non-toxic dyed, and made responsibly in China.