“It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.” Words have never been truer than when in relation to children and what they do – make a mess.
As a parent, it is difficult for me NOT to get mad when the kids make a mess. It isn’t the mess I dislike as much as it is the not-picking-up part. Part of me would just as soon not have the messy toys in my house – no play dough or paint, no little cups and pots, no construction toys like Zoob, no scissors, markers or glue. If they aren’t here, the kids can’t make a mess with them, right?
But, the fact is, kids WILL make a mess. That’s what they do. They explore their environment to its fullest, and they use creativity in ways we seem to forget as we grow older. Children dive head-first into delightful things, such as packing peanuts and glitter. It is fun; it is learning.
So, while I might not want to sweep up the shredded paper ONE MORE TIME or clean the marker up off the kitchen table – AGAIN, I know that my kids are learning to express themselves and discover more about the world around them with each exciting activity they do, no matter how messy it is. And that is our job as caregivers – to expose children to as many different situations, stimuli, activities and experiences as possible in a safe (and hopefully fun) way. Of course, the other side of that is to also teach our children to be responsible and clean up after themselves. I’m still working on this one.
Someone remind me of this when my youngest manages to spill the fish food all over the carpet again tonight, okay?