When Your Child Comes Home Messy….

Red paint in the hair? Blue paint on the jeans?
Sand in the shoes? Peanut butter on the favorite shirt?
White socks that look brown? Sleeves a little bit damp?

YOUR CHILD probably…
worked with a friend
solved a problem
created a masterpiece
negotiated a difference
learned a new skill
had a great time
developed new language skills

YOUR CHILD probably didn’t…
feel lonely
become bored
do repetitive tasks that are too babyish
do worksheet tasks that are too easy
do sit down work that is discouraging

YOU probably…
Paid good money for those clothes
Will have trouble getting the red paint out
Are concerned that the caregiver isn’t
paying enough attention to your child

Was aware of your child’s needs and interests
Spent time planning a challenging activity for the children
Encouraged the children to try new things
Put smocks on the children
Was worried that you might be concerned

Try to remember your favorite activity when you were four years old.
Was it outdoor play with water, mud, dress up clothes, with friends?
Young children really learn when they are actively involved in play,
not when someone is talking to them.

There is a difference between “messy” and “lack of care.”
The caregiver made sure your child was fed, warm, took a nap,
washed hands after toileting and before eating,
and also planned messy fun things to do because that’s how young children learn!

Send your child in clothes that can get dirty!
Keep extra old clothes at the play site for times
when the child gets wet or really messy.
If you need to take the child out,
bring the dress up clothes and allow time to change.

Keep calm.

Remember in a few years, teenagers will use your shampoo, mirrors, and
most of your towels to be clean.
But young children need time to be kids.
If you have concerns, talk to your child’s caregiver about active play.

~Susan Ruans, M.A.




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