Are you a parent who prevents their kids from ever making a mess? Is it because you fear the clean up or do you want to make sure your kids "behave?"
One of my favorite tips to new parents is: let your kids make a mess.
The photo below gives a fairly accurate portray of what goes on around here on a daily basis, indoors. Take a look and tell me if you would allow such a travesty in your living room.
I am totally okay with it.
Why a Big Mess is OK
So, why do I let my kids make a big mess? Sensory trays and toy cars dumped all over the place? Toys strewn every which way?
One word: SANITY
Okay, now you are thinking, but isn't sanity more at risk when the home is messy?
Well, maybe. If the home stays messy.
Benefits of a Big Mess
You likely already know the huge benefits of free play and sensory play so I won't recap all that. You definitely already know about mess-containing strategies like placing towels under containers water or mats under paint, so I won't bore you with yet another condescending explanation.
But I will ask: Isn't 20 minutes* a child occupied with an activity that doesn't involve whining, sibling conflict, and otherwise extremely annoying behaviors worth a trip around the living room with a vacuum?
Well? Isn't it?
* New parents are shocked at the idea that a mere 20 minutes is worth all that mess. Until of course, their kids become toddlers and they realize 20 minutes is the same as 2 hours in toddler time.