Your Child's Messy Playroom Says a Lot About Your Parenting

messy playroomLord have mercy, have you seen this playroom? This week on Lifetime's America's Supernanny, Deborah got a tour of the Dentons' basement playroom -- and it's a horror show! Toys everywhere are just the beginning. There were also dirty clothes, fleas, and oh yeah, the dog "poops and pees" over there in that corner. YEECH!

Now my son is no stranger to messy rooms. Especially during the toddler years, some days it seemed like we were drowning in blocks, toy animals, and dozens of tiny, random, plastic whatsits. At least we never got to the point of hosting fleas and fecal matter! But is your toddler's messy room saying something deeper about your parenting?


As Deborah looks around the room, she says something really smart. For her, the room "symbolizes what this family looks like. It's unorganized, there's no respect for anything." I think that's how a lot of us feel about our family life with a toddler around. We get overwhelmed by the chaos. Those little people don't pick up and they don't respect objects -- or even people, sometimes. They're just beginning to learn. And that process can be really, well, messy.

But I think it's important to start at the toddler stage. Cleaning up after my son's playtime disasters felt like a Sisyphean task (Sisyphus is that Greek mythological character who was punished by having to roll a rock up a hill over and over again only to watch it roll back down the hill every time). It seemed futile to clean up again and again, day after day. Wouldn't it be easier to keep everything scattered all over the floor and just close the door? But it's worth the effort.

When I made myself (or when my husband made himself) clean up that mess, we felt much calmer and in control about life in general. I think what it communicates to everyone in our home is "we respect this space, and we respect each other." And funny thing -- over the years, my son has learned to appreciate a tidy room, too. When it comes to creating a stable, nurturing home for my son, I feel like the daily work of fighting playroom chaos is right up there with regular bedtimes and family meals.

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by your toddler's messes? Do you feel calmer when you're not in the middle of a mess?

Image via America's Supernanny/Lifetime

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