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Why I Don’t Make My Kids Clean Up After Every Activity

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I heard a knock at the door… it was an unannounced visit from a lady who lives in our building. And, my house was a MESS!!! My 5 year old daughter has recently been on a rampage of creating things using BIG pieces of paper and sticky tape. The photo above is what it looks like just at the start of one of her creative moments. She can sit there for an hour, ferociously cutting, and taping, and trying out her inventions. This is what it looked like after only half an hour.

The other day, she stayed up until 10pm and made a ‘cage‘ for her Beenie Boo out of rolled up paper (she had taken a nap that day and we homeschool, so it’s not like she had to be anywhere the next day).

And, the night before our unannounced visitor, she had been making HUGE paper airplanes, standing on the couch and launching 2, 3 and 4 at a time. One particular one was a ‘double’ with a bag attached.┬áThere were pieces of paper everywhere! On top of that, her other sister and brother were busy making their own creations. Duplos, embroidery string, knitting wool. OMG! The house looked trashed!

So, the neighbour said what she needed to say about the body corporate stuff, and as she was leaving, I sort of apologised for the mess (even though I shouldn’t of) and she felt the need to tell me about how when she was a parent… blah blah blah, she used to know a person who made their child clean up every time they moved to the next activity.

I was like, “Um… yeah… I know… that doesn’t really work for us.”

See, I like when they get all creative and I don’t want to stop it for something as little as cleaning up. To ME it’s important to clean up. But, to my kids, not so much!

I’ll never forget something I heard from one of my yoga teachers who was leading the teacher training of a parenting course I was taking. He told us to be able to recognise the difference between a ‘mess‘ and and when they’re being destructive.

A child’s ‘mess‘ could be their masterpiece! He told us once how he walked into his daughter’s room and there were cardboard boxes and stuff strewn everywhere! He asked her what she had made. She said, “It’s a town, daddy!” And proceeded to show him where all the buildings where. Read the rest of this entry