Let Your Babies Make A Mess! It Makes Them Happier, Healthier, And SmarterIt's an important part of play and child development.by Kitty Elicay .
We get it — raising tiny humans is exhausting so seeing your kids make a mess and knowing that you have to clean up after them drives you up the wall. But no matter how you try to corral the chaos, babies and toddlers are all about exploring and using their senses to understand the world. When you think about it, letting your kids make a mess can actually benefit their mental, physical, social, and emotional development.
Why parents should let babies make a mess
A recent study found that early sensory stimulation can boost an infant’s brain, and that “even the smallest babies must be challenged and stimulated at their level from birth onward,” according to neuroscientist Audrey van der Meer. “They need to engage their body and senses by exploring their world and different materials.”
Here are three reasons why you should let go and let your baby make a mess:
Babies learn through touch
When babies engage their senses, they can complete more complex learning tasks that support brain development. You’ll notice them touching, feeling, and discovering objects within their reach and bringing those items to their mouths — it’s a developmental milestone that helps them understand their environment more.
Ashley Thurn, a mom of two and a pediatric occupational therapist in the U.S. shares in her blog Helping Hands Kitchen, that babies learn about new textures in a very specific order of touch: first their hands, then their mouth (also called proximal to distal sensory acceptance). “That is just the progression of tactile sensory exploration, the way that babies learn about the world around them,” she writes. “Babies (and toddlers too) need to be allowed the opportunity to touch, feel, and smell their foods in order to determine if they are willing to try it with their mouths.”ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Babies become more independent
As babies develop, they naturally crave autonomy. They want to learn and discover things on their own.
If you let babies explore (but still with your supervision), then you are giving him the chance to have his own ideas. If he’s playing alone, he learns that he can have fun on his own and that he can rely on himself to do things. If he’s self-feeding, he can develop a healthy relationship with food. It might make him less of a picky eater!
Babies become healthier
Most parents get frustrated when their kids get dirty because they also think that it will expose them to viruses and illnesses. But when we overly sanitize an infant’s surroundings, we may be stopping them from developing a healthy immune system.
“There has to be a balance between preventing infection, which is still a real threat to society, but also promoting this microbial exposure that is healthy,” says microbiologist Marie-Claire Arrieta. ““Hygiene is crucial to our health. We should not stop washing our hands, but we should do it at a time when it is effective at preventing disease spread — before we eat and after using the restroom.”
Babies nurture their mental and physical development
By exposing your kids to messy textures — coarse sand, soft grass, cold water — then you’re also teaching them that sometimes, being messy is okay. It’s a crucial part of play and child development. Children need to use their senses so they can build a tolerance to different textures, tastes, and materials, and not be maselan.CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
This will also build their language and communication skills. The more they are allowed to explore with their hands and feet, then the more that they’ll be able to identify new ways of talking about their environment.
When playing with babies, teach them words of the senses or descriptive vocabulary like colors (“the apple is red”), sizes (“it is small”), tastes (“it is sweet”), and textures (“its skin is smooth”).
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