Our home has white walls, white cabinetry, and white furniture. It makes me extremely uncomfortable and anxious when I see things out of order and in a mess. But guess what is one of my daughter’s favorite things to do? Paint at home! Do I let her? Of course I do!
My daughter has been painting since she was three years old and has created a lot of artwork over the years. She loves all the different colors of paint, how paint feels between her fingers, and creating a piece of artwork that is proudly displayed in my home office. Every single time she paints, I try my best to set up everything she needs and so the painting process can go smoothly.
After she has completed her “masterpiece,” I end up wiping down all the furniture she used to paint with, all the surrounding furniture, the floor, all the surrounding walls, the path to the bathroom, everything she touches along the way, and my daughter. While it might seem like a lot of work for a short amount of painting time and average artwork, we still do it on a regular basis for the following reasons:
It allows my daughter some freedom for self-expression. Even though her artwork all looks about the same, she has the freedom to chose the colors she wants, the order of the color application, and how she wants to paint the artwork. When she is done, she is also able to explain to me her drawing and what she sees. I think all of this is great for many aspects of development for her.
Sensory play is just as important as regular play. Even though I cringe when she puts down her paint brush and starts to paint with her fingers, I know she is doing this because she wants and likes how paint feels on her hands. It is also interesting and fun for her when the paint starts to dry and peel a little.
I’ve learned to use wet wipes during the process. I used to use paper towels but I realized this was not cleaning very well. I switched to a wet towel but I had to be very involved in the process and it is not fun for her or me. Since switching to wet wipes, she is able to get a wipe messes on her own and clean off her hands when she wants. Don’t misunderstand that she is perfectly clean during the process now. She is just aware of when her hands are dirty and uncomfortable for her. For me, it means less clean up at the end of the painting session! If I hadn’t discovered this trick, I probably wouldn’t have been so eager to let her paint almost every weekend.
Although, wet wipes seem like a waste of money, I try to balance that out with the amount of clean up and headache I have afterwards. Given the number of times we paint in a month and the horrendous amount of mess my daughter makes during the process, I think it is well worth it (for me) . Next time you child has a painting session, consider having some wet wipes on hand and see if it makes the process smoother for them and you!
Trust me, the benefits outweigh the mess. Just look at my daughter’s proud look!