You know the days when the house is strewn with children’s debris? When you have to unbury the kitchen table from the latest craze of paints or gels, sticky bits or building sets, in order to eat? When you have an entire mini-brick city across the living room carpet? Or there’s not a foot of floor to be seen?
Well, I know it can seem a bit desperate sometimes, when you crave for the bit you tidied just to remain so for a while, but untidy does have its uses.
As a home educator you get a double dose of this marvellous mayhem. The kitchen can become the nearest thing to an art studio or science lab and the garden a space for the messiest of experiments, often with disgusting components. And the living room? It’s constantly disrupted by the latest den of the furnishings, or a growing community of characters that are living out the latest imaginary adventure and cannot be moved.
“Oh mum! Can’t I leave it up – just for today?”
“Well….!” You waver.
A month later, your feet still sore from treading on sharp things and longing for a sit on a normal settee not some kind of cushion construction, you feel inclined to try and tidy again. Or not!
Best not really. And the reason being that while all these things are going on your children are stimulated, developing skills and most important they are learning. And when there’s stuff around they’re likely to want to do something with it creating mental activity as well as physical.
They need all sorts of things around them to do that, to spark their imagination. When their imagination is sparked their brain is functioning, they are increasing their thinking skills, their language will be developing and their intelligence growing.
Nothing switches that off faster than terribly tidy environments.
There’ll be plenty of time for tidy when they’ve grown and the house is empty.
My kitchen table has been acutely bare of late, apart from that stain from experiments with dye and the odd sparkle of glitter glue. The carpet has been naked except for a black patch where some sticky substance got spilled. And the settee has been vacant of those constructions, little bottoms and cuddly toys.
Not any more as student comes home for summer and there is paraphernalia all over again. The table strewn with more mature experiments – in bleaching this time, various camera equipment, fabric and sewing stuff is dotted about, there are threads all over the carpet and even teddy has emerged from retirement for a quick hold.
And I’m loving it! Loving the busy. Loving the clutter, after months of aching tidiness even I got bored of! My mind is also buzzing with the busy of it.
So although you might long for that decluttered look they go for in magazines, be patient; reassure yourself that clutter means busy and busy means stimulated and stimulated means development and learning going on.
A bare house can mean bare minds and we want children with minds so full they cannot help but grow!