The Importance Of Letting Your Kids Get Messy!
I know what you’re thinking… “Heck no not in my house!” But what if I told you know that there are actual developmental benefits of letting your kids get messy! I know first hand as a TYPE A mom, how aggravating it is to have my daughter”s room cluttered with books, and we go through the same nightly clean up battle. Or when my son wants to constantly create “experiments” by trying to freeze any liquid he can get his hands on. From oil to dish soap, to juice to soy sauce, you name it. He’s curious what liquids will freeze and what won’t. He wants to make predictions and wants us to participate. Sounds fascinating doesn’t it. His little 8 year old science obsessed brain is learning by experimenting. Yet all I can see is cluttered countertops, lids taken off jars, spoons all over the place and spills that I have to clean up.
Sometimes, my need to maintain order and cleanliness, and keep things tidy isn’t much about the kids at all. I have realized that it’s a way of controlling my otherwise chaotic and unpredictable world. You see, we’re SO conditioned to be living in a germaphobic culture where we obsess over watching home edit shows (I am guilty as well), that we’re raising our children in over-hygienic unnatural conditions. I feel we as parents have conditioned our children to be so cautious about “making a mess” that they are slowly loosing their natural ability to use their senses to explore the world around them.
Therapists say, “A child who lacks basic experiences with textures on their hands and has never been exposed to messy textures in nature can become over-sensitive to tactile information.” This is why you see children sometimes who will cry or scream if they get their hands or face messy or will refuse to walk in the sand or grass. I see this time and time again at La Dee Da where kids will come in (especially our little toddlers) and they are so afraid to touch and feel and it is challenging for them to let go and allow the sensation of wet paint on their hands. Or our older kids who lack the self control when given materials to create that they become obsessive and destructive to property.
With sensory related diagnosis’ on the rise, we need to teach our children and retrain ourselves that “making a mess” is OK! Overprotecting and over-sanitizing is doing more harm to our children and inhibiting their natural ability to learn fine and gross motor skills. But there is a HUGE difference between being unwashed hands at the dinner table and being messy. I think creating boundaries around “creating a mess” are definitely important. In my house the garage is the designated “makers space” where the BIG MAGIC can be created. You can purchase inexpensive spoons, bowls, trays and dishes at the dollar store, so even if those tools get ruined, you’re not obsessing over it.
Allowing Children Can Benefit Kids in the Following Ways:
- It May Improve Their Health
- It Engages the Senses
- It Makes Kids Think
- It Makes Kids Better at Cleaning Up
La Dee Da Art Studio also offers many art classes that focus on exploration and sensory play through art. Check out our current selection of Spring Semester Classes both for toddlers as well as our big kids.