What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say “mess.” Ummm, was it something like “hate it,” or “no way,” or even an intense bodily reaction of tensing up in fear? Well, I hate to break it to you, but kids are messy! And, it is IMPORTANT to allow them to get messy. Honestly, I believe mess is a key ingredient to developing a healthy growing child for their body, mind and soul. I can say firsthand mess doesn’t bother me, but my husband is totally the opposite. And after years of being married to him, teaching, being an art therapist and now a mama, I do understand parent’s and caregiver’s hesitation when it comes to getting messy. However, I ask that you be open-minded to the idea of artistic mess for many reasons. Here are just 3 reasons I think it is necessary to put aside your own aversion to getting messy and learn to embrace it.
1. Cultivates independence and curiosity
When making an artistic mess, children are taking risks, trying new things, learning how things work and developing a new level of self-confidence.
2. Develops focus and concentration
Artistic messiness takes a lot of attention and is hard work! This development of increased focus and concentration will help your little one in the future for academic and life successes.
3. Embraces the imperfections of life
In a world where things seem to need to be perfect, it is hard to deal with them when they aren’t. Artistic messes can allow for children to experience the freedom to create and deal with mistakes in a healthy and supportive situation.
Overall, messiness leads to creativity, imagination and enhances your child’s growth socially, emotionally and academically. So, fear not the mess and learn how to embrace it for all of its glory. And don’t forget little ones are always watching and all too often, we as the adults let our own fears and discomforts get in the way of us embracing the mess. So, get messy and who knows… you might just find out mess is the BEST!
Caroline Tye is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a registered board-certified art therapist. She is also an artist, educator and the owner of Dandelion Art Studio. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education from Illinois College, however her passionate beliefs in the power of creativity lead her to discover the certificate art therapy program at Northwestern University. She completed the program, but wanted to continue to further her knowledge. She obtained a Master’s in Art Therapy with an emphasis in Counseling at Mount Mary University. Her philosophy and belief is that art and creativity can promote growth, healing and transformation.
Caroline is dedicated to working with children, adolescents and young adults. She believes that it is important that people of all ages feel seen and heard. Caroline has worked in various settings with young people as a preschool teacher, camp director, art educator and art therapist. Currently, she works at her art-based art therapy private practice and as an art therapist at a therapeutic day school. Caroline uses the creative process and her therapeutic skills to work with children and adolescents who are diagnosed with a range of mental illnesses and behavioral issues. She brings an enthusiastic, passionate, and a nurturing approach to all of her clients and students.