A fine mess
Tidy parenting isn’t always good.
By Scott Dunlop
Tidying. Parents spend a vast portion of their lives either doing it or coordinating it. Ever wonder, though, what value a big mess can add to your lives? Here are a few tips for (occasionally) messing up:
Article originally in Parent24
The lounge is a toybox
Take every single toy in the house, from every container and cupboard, and dump it in the middle of the lounge (or a big space which won’t get messed up by pens without lids and blobs of play-dough). This is tidying, backwards. Let your kids discover forgotten treasures as you recategorise their stuff: All those loose Lego blocks (which hurt like heck if you stand on them) can go into their proper container, for example. As you put all the pens and crayons away, throw away the dried up or broken ones. Sort out old and unused toys to either donate or recycle. You’ll be surprised how many things they have which can be used again or removed to make space. It’ll take a couple of hours, but you’ll be able to reorganise everything. Have some empty ice cream containers handy for tiny treasures.
The kitchen’s an art studio
Put down some newspaper, and bring out the paints or modelling clay. You can pick up cheap raw clay at a local potter. Old t-shirts or aprons might be needed, but hopefully you’ll all have a great time getting covered in paint and creating some family masterpieces.
The sense of accomplishment a child experiences at being involved in the baking process is immense. Even if it’s limited to stirring, cutting out shapes or (the perennial favourite) icing cupcakes, they’ll enjoy the smells, tastes and creativity of it all. Sure, there will be licked spoons and messy cheeks, but a loved kitchen is a messy one (at least for a while). If you want to bake or cook something a little healthier, experiment with food colouring. Blue bread could be the best way to get your kids to eat!
If you live in an area with no water shortage, there are plenty of messy things to do. Watering the garden can become a game of dodging the hose or sprinkler, or you can get them to wash the car. Come to think of it, teaching your child to become an amateur gardener is a great way of combining mess with beauty.
Whatever you do, embrace the messy times- they make for some fantastic photos, and no shortage of belly laughs from your kids. The more you make a mess, the more you’ll be able to teach them the value of tidying up (and how to do it on their own).
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