This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SweepTheMess #CollectiveBias
How do you feel when your kids get messy?
It’s a question that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I love seeing my kids get messy, but other times, I want to steer clear of the mess! Why? Because messes generally mean that I’m the one who’s going to clean up. But, there’s a kind of beauty in the mess and I’m trying to see it that way everyday. That’s why Happily Ever Mom is thrilled to be joining up with O-Cedar and Collective Bias to talk about the the biggest mistakes I’ve made with my kids when they’re messy and how to set everyone up for success…
1. Don’t clean up ALL the messes for them
If kids get really messy, let them help clean up. I once had kids paint an entire playhouse in mud and their favorite part was “cleaning” the house with paint brushes and water. Kids learn by cleaning up their messes, too, even if they don’t always love doing it (see #4 for tips).
2. Don’t get upset
I think this one is so important, but it can be really challenging, too.
Imagine sending your kids out to the backyard and they get covered in dirt. They come inside and you clean them up, only to find that they run right back outside and get dirty again. Well, that’s frustrating. But, yelling at kids for being messy isn’t constructive for anyone (see the DOs at the bottom of the post).
3. Don’t avoid messy activities and play
Kids truly learn when they experiment and get messy!
4. Don’t expect them to stay clean
Kids are curious and they want to explore everything that is around them. Don’t expect them to avoid getting messy just because you want them to. In fact, most kids don’t even realize that splashing water will “get them all wet,” that playing in the mud will get their feet/bodies muddy and dirty, or that dumping an entire bottle of glitter will stay in their hair for weeks (yes, my daughter did that…). They’re just exploring and having fun…or, trying to turn into a fairy like my daughter was trying to do with her glitter experiment – ha!
So, expect that your kids are going to get messy every day and figure out a system for how to clean up the fun! Set up a bucket with some water and sponges. Kids can only come inside when they scrub their feet and hands first!
5. Don’t dress them in their best clothes…everyday
We all know how expensive it can be to buy really nice clothes for our kids. Set them up for success by having a set of play clothes or “get dirty” clothes so that you aren’t disappointed when kids get their nice clothes dirty. When they do have to wear nice clothes, remind them that these are the clothes we need to try and keep clean for a short time, then when you get home, let them change into their play clothes.
We also have separate clothes and shoes for school so that my kids don’t get disappointed that they can’t wear their “nicer” clothes to school. Remember #4? School is the last place that I expect my kids to stay clean!
Here are a few DO’s When Kids Get Messy…
DO try and see the smiles on your kids faces as they get messy – I guarantee they’re there.
DO notice that there is tons of learning happening when your kids are making messes.
DO encourage them to play, to get dirty, and to explore – even if it’s hard for you.
DO have a clean up system – let kids sweep, wipe down with sponges, or wash their feet and hands before they come inside.
DO find joy in the beautiful mess because, in the mess, we get to see who our kids truly are – Are they daring and climbing trees? Creative and covered in glitter? Sensory seekers who can’t stop digging in the dirt?
However your child loves to get messy, remember that messes wash away, but memories are for a lifetime.
How do you deal with the mess at home?
Thank you again to our sponsor and Collective Bias for inspiring this post! All ideas, thoughts, and opinions are my own. #CollectiveBias #Sweepthemess