Moms who don't let their kids get dirty . . .

@much2say (36023)
United States
May 20, 2010 4:38pm CST
Just wondering about your thoughts on letting your kids get dirty. I know with my first one, I was sort of the clean freak . . . but as she got older I got over it and now it's totally fine with me that she picks rollie pollies off the ground, play with dirt, paint, etc etc. The only problem is I have to keep her skin in mind as she has eczema, a lot of things irritate her skin. Now with my second one, I'm not such a clean freak because I don't have the time . . . I'm just going with the flow of things and if he gets a bit messy - eh - I'm cool with it. You figure a bath and a laundry load will take care of it, so what. Today in my daughter's class (she's 5), the craft was t-shirt painting. Her friend's mom told me last week she was going to try NOT to come because it was going to get messy (she has 2 daughters, 5 and 3). A few weeks ago they missed out on a farm/veggie picking field trip because the mom didn't want to deal with dirt and farm ick on the shoes and clothing. When we had a playdate at their house, mom didn't want the older girls to paint because the younger girl would want to paint too but would make a mess. With the sandbox at home, their mom was telling them to keep all the sand in a particular area, not to use water because it makes a mess, no stepping in it, etc etc that it totally disrupted the girls play. On show and tell day at school, the girls bought dolls from home, but their mom yelled not to place it on the filthy school carpet at all because she'd have to wash them. Oh - and on another day the older girl wanted to paint as my daughter wanted to paint . . . so she went to ask her mother and then came back trying to convince me and my daughter not to paint because it'd get all over their clothes. I told her it was my daughter's choice - my daughter picked painting. I can understand wanting to keep your kids clean . . . but it's so sad that these girls have to miss out on so many activities just because mom doesn't want to deal with "a mess". Mom doesn't want them in parks and indoor playgrounds because they are so "filthy". As someone once said, you can't let your kids live in a bubble. How do you feel about letting your kids get dirty? Do you see it as a learning opportunity or do you sigh knowing it's a clean up job you want to avoid?
3 people like this
19 responses
• United States
26 May 10
I have 5 kids and I love the wonderful invention of the bath..LOL Its sad when parents are so worried about dirt that the kids suffer. Getting dirty is an wonderful process of being a kid. You get the chance to learn all the different textures and make different things out of it.
@much2say (36023)
• United States
27 May 10
Wow - you have 5 of them!! Yah, getting dirty is part of being a kid . . . definitely it's a hands on learning opportunity for them. It's important for kids to get that tactile experience - yes, it's sad that some parents don't see it that way.
@nonersays (3099)
• United States
23 May 10
Its imporant to let kids know its OKAY to get messy and have fun doing it. Where I work we used to have art projects for children. I've seen kids cry because they got pain on their fingers, not their clothes just their FINGERS, and their mommy was going to be mad at them for it. It really is a shame that a child can't even enjoy an art project without worrying they will get in trouble for getting a little dirty. Personally I'm going to be outside with my little boy teaching him how to make mud pies! My so is going to get to play with paint and playdoh and everything messy I got to play with as a child.
@much2say (36023)
• United States
24 May 10
Oh - that's so sad that kids cry over getting dirty from doing craft projects! Parents should know that in school their kids are going to get into things - so if the don't want them to mess up their clothes, they should have the kids wear play clothes - sheesh! Mud pies - yah - I made those too!! And at that age, kids think of it as fun . . . so why not let them while they want to!
@dorannmwin (36656)
• United States
23 May 10
Try as you might as a parent, it is impossible to keep you kids clean. With Kathryn, I was a lot more concerned about her staying clean and keeping her away from all germs that I could. However, with Paul it has always been a different story. I will let him get dirty. He loves to find everything that has to do with dirt, bugs, painting, etc. I have never let my kids miss out on an event in their lives because they could get dirty. I just make sure they are wearing clothes that I really don't care about.
@much2say (36023)
• United States
23 May 10
Exactly. With my daughter, my first, I was also concerned with her being clean all the time - and it wasn't til maybe she was closer to 2 that I got over it. Maybe it was being the first time parent that made me moreso that way. I'm not so concerned with my son though. He is still too little for the dirt stage, but I don't hyper if he touches things that other hands may have touched. And yah, we have a drawer specifically for play clothes - I just make sure my daughter wears something from there if I know she's going to do something messy.
@family4 (53)
• Canada
22 May 10
In our family our oldest (my bonus daugher) always was concerned with getting dirty. I believe her mother was one of those don't do in case you get dirty. I struggled with this as I was a tomboy and mud and dirty just made things more fun. Our youngest is very much like me. She will climb a tree in a skirt, play in the mud, catch bugs and investigate worms. At first when I put her in pretty little outfits I was a little bit picky about getting dirty and by the time she was 2 I stopped putting her in special outfits and let her enjoy what life has to offer. We are very close to a family fo 3 boys (3-6 year olds) and I think this has helped with her free lifestlye. There is alot of girls I see in her junior kindergarten class who refrain from doing activities for fear of getting dirty or wet. They don't get into crafts or play for this reason and I think it is sad. Childhood is for discovering and playing and enjoying everything not for worrying about getting stains and ruining clothes. In regards to the germs issue. we have a rule wash when you come in, wash before eating and after. This is followed most times without reminders. I might not enjoy getting stains out but I do love seeing her face light up upon a new discovery, something she painted, built or did. These memories are the greatest I will forget all the laundry but never her joy in life and what she brings to me.
@much2say (36023)
• United States
23 May 10
I totally agree that childhood is a time for discovery and playing . . . if they had to worry about getting dirty so much, they would get nothing done. I was a tomboy too - and I'd always do whatever in my parent's backyard. Most of the time I played by myself, so the mud and all occupied my time - I'm sure my parents liked that as they weren't into playing. Yah, it's sad when kids don't want to do stuff in fear of getting dirty - is it them, or their parents teachings that make them feel this way. You're right, we'll forget about the laundry part one day, but the memories will always be there.
@lilybug (21145)
• United States
22 May 10
I guess I am kind of middle of the road when it comes to my kid and them getting dirty. I am not a total germ-a-phobic, but at the same time I am not going to let them go out and play in the mud.
@much2say (36023)
• United States
23 May 10
I know what you mean. For me it depends on the situation - as there is clean mud (sort of) and mud that you know is potentially gross. Now if it's at home in the yard, I would let that happen . . . but not, say, a construction area. We did that with a bunch of cousins when I was a kid - my cousin actually stepped on a nail that went right through his flimsy shoe and into his foot - he had to go to the hospital. So in that sense, though it's not entirely a dirtiness issue, I might be more conservative about mud play.
@dawnald (84069)
• Shingle Springs, California
21 May 10
That's my husband (the neat freak). He was always wiping their mouths and so on. I never had a problem letting them get a little dirty. Big deal, they're kids. I remember we went camping when Dearra was little and she got into some pine sap, which got dirty and wouldn't come off. He was practically freaking out and I was just laughing...
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
Oh man - when you go camping, making a mess somehow is inevitable. I guess that's why some of my friends don't camping! I used to be a clean freak, but there's just no sense in it . . . kids are going to get dirty even after you clean them up - hee hee!
• Indonesia
21 May 10
Hmm... i though it would be better if you keep ur child clean.... Remember, The priority is health of your child... dont mess with that
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
Well, as others have mentioned, you do need to expose them to some germs to build up their immunity. Keeping them sparkling clean isn't the best idea . . . except for maybe when they're very young babies.
@syankee525 (6293)
• United States
21 May 10
i say let them get dirty, they are kids. why they made soap and water. lol. i love the parents who say the kids cant outside because its too hot. what it makes them strong.. they be alright.
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
Ha ha - yah, I'll bet the soap companies love parents - ha ha. Well, I have to watch out for my daughter being under the sun too long because of her skin issues - and she is allergic to sunblock so that doesn't help. But otherwise, I know she loves being outdoors so I want to let her play out there as much as her skin can handle it. But yah, it makes them strong (and smarter apparently!).
• United States
21 May 10
Wow, making your kids miss fun things because you dont want them to get dirty. Some people are weird, Its a part of being a parent...Kids make messes and get dirty, its part of life. I have 3 boys, so I guess its a little different than having a girl but still I like for my kids to have fun even if its a mess for me to clean up later. Thats what usually makes the best memories for them.
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
Yep, I agree getting dirty is just a part of life. This mom can be a clean freak now, but what happens when the go to school and she's not there? I have one girl and one boy - not sure what my son will do just yet as he's too little still . . . but it will be interesting to see how much of a mess he'll make - hee hee!
@evepin (723)
• Philippines
21 May 10
i've been a clean freak when it comes to my daughter, but now that she is growing up and being curious to try new things, then i let her - play clay, paint, etc etc. but i do keep an eye on her so that if she gets to be very dirty then i clean her up. cheers and happy myLotting!
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
You sound just like me! I was always so careful to keep her clean initially, but you can't stop a kid from getting dirty sooner or later . . . so be it! I really like that she can dig into her "work" - so I don't mind her getting all dirty now. And then clean up is all that's needed afterwards.
@malpoa (1218)
• India
21 May 10
I think kids should be let to have some fun, but not at the cost of making a big mess. But this case u mentioned here is a bit too much. I would have let my kid enjoy these fun times. I have a friend who keeps her daughter er dirty ateast in my view...the nails are not often clipped and are dirty...she even feeds her without washing hands...I just hate it like anything. When we hang out...I dread the moment we buy finger chips or some snacks...I am particular about these things...but feeding children...once when I mentioned it to her, she asked me how many times she would have to wash hands in a day then!!! I find it very difficult to eat when we are called to her home for lunch or dinner..
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
Now the washing hands thing, I have my daughter washing her hands before eating too. I keep her hands washed because of the eczema thing . . . sometimes even paint could irritate her skin. So even though I want her to have fun, I don't want her to get itchy from it - and certainly I don't want her eating with icky hands. Good point about that.
@kezabelle (2984)
21 May 10
The only thing i stop them doing is doing it in their nice clothes :o) Apart from that they can do pretty much what they want as long as they have an apron on and dont paint on my walls and remove their shoes before coming indoors! They had so much fun once outside in their sandtray I think more of it was in their clothes gave them a bath and their was about half a cm worth of sand on the bottom of the bath lol! For me at the end of the day it washes out/off and as long as they respect that I cant afford to keep redecorating/replacing flooring then they can get as mucky as they likeprefer it in summer tho keep it all outside lol!
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
Hee hee. My daughter normally has all play clothes, so I don't mind her doing anything to them. Yah, I do have a problem with a mess indoors (we are in an apartment), so we keep the mess outdoors as much as possible. I have a friend who will take the hose to the kids before the come in - brrrrrrr!!!
@sid556 (30989)
• United States
21 May 10
Hi much2say, My mom was like that with me. I had 2 brothers that could just be normal kids and then there was me ....her only girl. She tried to dress me in little dresses and little socks with lace. Nothing worked. I was a kid and I loved to climb trees and play in the dirt and just be a kid. It was a constant source of battle with us. Then I grew up and a whole new battle developed between us. I never got to be close to my mother as a result. I had 4 girls of my own and vowed to be everything my mother was not. I can't say I succeeded 100$ but I can say that they got to be kids and they got to get dirty. They are all beautiful, petite girls and any one of them could get into modeling and none choose too. They love sports and hiking and hunting and fishing etc. It doesn't take them 500 hours to get ready to go out to dinner. We have showers and bathtubs and soap and water for a reason. When my girls were small, they had a game called "mud monsters." when it rained they would go out and play in the mud and cover themselves head to toe and pretend to be monsters. They even came in the housee. I never stopped them . They were having a great time and creating memorys . The evidence would all be easily washed away.
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
Mud monsters - ha - I love it! Wow - and you let them in the house like that - I don't think I could even do that - hee hee! I know some moms who want prissy girls all in lace too, but their daughters just won't have it . . . I can imagine that kind of battle! It's hard to say 100% in parenting, but sounds like you are good mom.
@weasel81 (2501)
• Australia
21 May 10
hmmm there are time still times when i don't like getting dirty unless i have to even at 29. but i've had to learn to live with my son getting dirty, and real dirty at times. it's a laugh when he's up the dairy and wants to help me milk the cows by spraying them for me. after each cow i have to hose of the idoine, on his hand. then when a cow make a mess he will not move, and gets cow muck on him, which i have to laugh at. one thing i don't like is him letting the dogs jump on him, when we're about to go to school. but both him and the dogs get in trouble for it. kids will be kids and we have to let them learn things in life.
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
Wow - you have access to milking cows! Hee hee - I'm sure it can get pretty dirty doing that - but what an experience for your son!! I've certainly never had the opportunity to actually milk a cow! Yep, kids will be kids . . . all they want to do is have fun and learn . . . better to let them do it now while they have the yearning to do it!
• United States
21 May 10
Yeah I think it's a learning process that kids should learn what's dirty and not dirty. yeah I admit, if my baby get's dirty it's another job to do on top of anything else I need to do but then one day, I realized he should learn from it and by then he will learn to clean himself! just makes sure that dirt is harmless. I mean make sure it won't harm them. or else worst come along.!
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
That is true, there is a time and place for getting dirty and not. I don't completely let my daughter go to town . . . like if she's painting at school at the "community" easel, I try to get her to respect others and paint within her space as there are other kids next to her are painting as well. And she can try to clean herself - at least her hands/arms by herself. Yes, there are worse things in this world that parents can fret about!
@bmodlin (15)
• United States
21 May 10
I am perfectly okay with Aiden getting dirty,I have no problem with him playing outside so long as its not raining and cold out. The funny thing about the 5 year old boy is that he HATES to get dirty. He is a bit of a girl about it. When its raining he insists on covering his head while walking to the car while saying "My hairs going to get wet!". Today he told me "Rain makes mud, and I don't like mud." It was adorable.
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
I know a few kids in my daughter's class who hate to get dirty too. But you sound like you're open to letting him get dirty - in fact you probably welcome it! How cute he doesn't like mud - hee hee. The girls in my example don't want to get dirty because they know mom will have a fit if they get dirty - sigh.
• Singapore
20 May 10
Kids whose mommies insist on them staying super clean are missing out on various learning opportunities only mess would teach. I have a three year old girl. After her bath in the morning, my mother in law often wants to keep her indoors. My daughter loves to play with our neighbour's children and I just let her. She comes back super dirty, her hair and body wet from sweat and she needs another bath. My MIL complains but so what? She just need another bath. I don't understand why painting is also a concern. Gosh! Children need to express themselves too. As for painting, I bought her an apron which she seldom wears. Haha... I love my daughter get down and dirty when she is at play. I know that she is learning a lot of things.
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
The family I spoke of . . . they live in a huge house with other relatives there - including the grandparents and great-grandparents - and they all try to keep the girls indoors because they're so worried about them getting hot, or too cold, or too sick, or too sweaty, and so on. Crazy, eh? I agree children need to express themselves - and if they want to paint - let them! I just have a set of second hand clothes we don't care about - my daughter can wear them and just paint to her heart's desires.
@ellie333 (21018)
20 May 10
Hi Much2say, I am a mum of a six year old boy who I think is a classic dirt magnet. I am sure as soon as he gets out of the bnath he is dirty within seconds but he has FUN, kids are supposed to get grubby. Life is too short they will ne grown up and moved away before we know it so I am for letting them explore and have fun and as a parent I quite often get grubby with him. I feel fot these girls of your friends I really do because I agree they are missing out on so much. Huggles. Ellie :D
@much2say (36023)
• United States
22 May 10
Yah, it's fun to get grubby - hee hee! I think getting grubby leads to not being afraid to experiment and to jump in there and be hands on. These girls are sort of living in fear, which is sad because all it's doing is making them miss out. As you said, life is too short and they all grow up so fast . . .
• United States
27 May 10
I had an old friend who came to my house and hung out a couple times. Well, she has a 2 year old son and clean freak could not even close to describe her!! She was OBSESSED with being clean. My sister's 2 kids and my kids were there with her son. Every time her son touched anything in my house she had to race to go wash his hands. My sister's kids had a slight cold, just a runny nose. She emailed me the next day saying we couldn't be friends anymore because her son got a cold and my house wasn't clean enough for her! I am NOT a dirty person at all but I am NOT obsessed with cleanliness like that. I have 3 kids of my own so my house get's messy sometimes but NEVER dirty or anything! I'm sure her son got the cold so easily because she never allows his immune system to build up...My kid's never got the cold. Talk about CRAZY!!! She was EXTREMELY Clean CRAZY!