April 03, 2016

Play and Mess around - What is your role?

This time A wanted to wash dishes. And, yes, I let her do. Of course, with my supervision and it was plain water that she used. But, soon she will also be offered a scrub with soap, for her to actually observe the effect of what washing is.












Here, she had a make-believe play. This is one play methodology children implement. She imitated me warming a glass of hot milk by putting it in water. She claimed that the water was milk and she was stirring it up to warm it a bit like how amma does.



Well, this was not a planned activity. She asked me for some water and a vessel. As I was over looking her waiting to see what she would be doing, she started with taking each bowl from the basket of utensils and washing them one by one. As I observed her keenly on how focussed she was while doing what she was doing, I was really surprised and started asking questions on what she was doing and what she noticed was happening. She, very eagerly told me she was holding the bowl in one manner and poured water until the bottom was filled, wiped with hand and poured the water out.

Then I noticed that she poured water very carefully only until the rim of the lid, wiped the lid off and poured out the water. Repeat. There's a whole lot of concept behind whatever children do. Lot of coordination goes into what they are actually doing. They have got immense energy to explore their surrounding, learn from what their parents do, imitate them, have keen focus, more than what the parent usually has, observe why things happen the way they happen, try their hand at it and learn a whole lot of new things practically.

There is also a Montessori system of education where they impart practical life lessons to children like making them mop the floor, wash the dishes etc., that is called as child-led learning and there's a reason for all this. You can read some articles that highlight the importance of such lessons:

http://childledlife.com/washing-dishes/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWe7eLt6NQY
http://www.montessoriservices.com/practical-life/washing-cleaning
http://montessorionthedouble.com/2013/09/10/2-5-year-old-washing-dishes-and-loading-the-dishwasher/
http://www.infomontessori.com/practical-life/care-of-the-environment-washing-a-table.htm

On a related context, A enjoys mopping the floor.
She first notices the water on floor, wipes the water with a dry cloth, notices that the water vanished from floor, that is when I explain to her that the water got absorbed into this dry cloth and hence the cloth has become wet. She again tried to wipe the floor with the same wet cloth and I again explained her that, wet cloth cannot be used to wipe water because it is already filled up with water, you can squeeze the water out and use it for wiping. She enjoys this part.

Recently, when she sat down to paint something and she accidentally spilled out some water that she was using to paint, she immediately looked for a wiping cloth, wiped clean the entire floor with not even one spot of wetness or colour remaining and put away the wet cloth. All this while I was peacefully sitting at a visible distance from her, with neither any hint nor yelling nor irritation from my side. She knows what happened and what she has to do to clean it up. I never yelled for making a mess nor ordered her to clean up. She learned to do what has to be done only by observing a patient parent and not by rules.

Always be willing to offer various activities, play time for the child to experiment. Do not worry of the mess they are going to make of it. If you are patient the first time and clean up the mess without getting irritated or yelling at them, they will be more than ready to learn your way of cleaning the mess and clean it up themselves the next time. It is only a matter of time. Stay calm and see your child bloom to her/his full potential filled with positivity.

So, next time your child messes around or spills over some water, please stay calm. It is the immense energy that they have and they do not exactly know how to use it. Do not get irritated, do not go murmuring or yelling saying, this mess is exactly the reason you didn't want to give water/paint/any play to your child but she insisted and you had to give her, and now you are the one who has to do the cleaning etc. and lot more similar yelling that usual parents do.

Be a unique parent and you will definitely see a unique little child with beautiful soul growing up in your guidance. 

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