Do you let your child play in the dirt?

(180 Posts)
GoldBar Sat 24-Jul-21 07:03:47

Just curious to know what other parents' views on this are.

I was out last week with two parents with different approaches (mine is somewhere in the middle). We were sitting having coffee in an outside cafe with a garden and small play area, with grass, dirt and muddy puddles from sprinklers. Parent 1's children (aged 5 and 3) started playing with stones and twigs in the dirt, building piles of them, and ran through the muddy puddles in the grass and held their hands under the sprinklers, getting wet and filthy. Parent 1 didn't say anything. Parent 2's child (4) went to do the same but Parent 2 told them to come back and sit at the table if they were going to be 'naughty' and not play nicely. Parent 1 smiled and said she was ok with her children getting wet and dirty because they do it all the time and she always brings spare clothes. Parent 2 said she brings spare clothes too but she thinks children should be taught to look after their clothes and not get dirty just for the sake of it.

OP’s posts: |
Wormsarecool Sat 24-Jul-21 07:09:00

Totally parent 1.

FreeSpirits Sat 24-Jul-21 07:10:35

I'm with parent 1

insancerre Sat 24-Jul-21 07:10:50

Parent 1 but I do run an outdoor nursery

fitzbilly Sat 24-Jul-21 07:11:22

Parent 1 would be me too. Surely that's just normal fun for children? Clothes are worn to protect them and keep them warm. A bit of mud washes off.

TigersandTeddybears Sat 24-Jul-21 07:11:46

I'm a parent 1 usually I'm getting messy with them

AdalineStephen Sat 24-Jul-21 07:12:44

Parent 1


wjg65ka Sat 24-Jul-21 07:13:41

I'm like parent 1. MIL once moaned I put too much stuff in DS baby bag, we went the park and it ended up absolutely raining. DS was in his element jumping in muddy puddles. He was covered in mud, two min change in the car and he was as fresh as a daisy. MIL never moaned again after that

CanIGoHomeNowPlease Sat 24-Jul-21 07:14:10

I feel sorry for the child of parent 2

Hollyhocksarenotmessy Sat 24-Jul-21 07:14:34

Another vote for parent 1.

Parent 2 is fine to say no if she doesn't want the hassle of wet muddy kids when out, but shouldn't label normal play 'naughty'. If she never let's her kids get dirty, then she isn't a good mum.

IHateCoronavirus Sat 24-Jul-21 07:14:48

Children learn through exploration. To me the freedom to learn and explore without worrying about getting dirty is important. But that is my opinion, I also understand and respect that my friends have different values.

I have one friend who really values looking neat and tidy. Growing up she learned the hard way that “being a scruff” makes your life hellish. If she insists on good table manners and clean clothes then I 100% support her decision.

It isn’t a bad thing to teach our children that different places/people/occasions require different behaviour. Live and let live.

ShinyGreenElephant Sat 24-Jul-21 07:18:54

I feel sorry for parent 2s kids. Unless we're on our way to a wedding or something I fully expect my kids to get dirty. In fact, my eldest climbed a tree in her (very expensive) silk flower girl dress at my dad's wedding and absolutely destroyed it and even then we weren't annoyed or calling her naughty- just relieved the photos were done!

Howcanthisbe123 Sat 24-Jul-21 07:20:45

I’m parent 2, your not playing in mud! However if other kids are doing it then I would let mine as I wouldn’t want them to miss out if it looks fun, but if no one was doing it and mine were trying it first I would say no.

Howcanthisbe123 Sat 24-Jul-21 07:23:21

There’s a difference between getting dirty and wallowing in mud! For all those people saying they feel sorry for parents two kids.

Ducksurprise Sat 24-Jul-21 07:23:58

Certainly by that age they can know the difference, occasionally I would be parent two, if they were dressed up for a party in their best clothes and shoes then I'd say to keep them nice, but all the other times when they were in normal clothes then definitely parent 1.

So in your situation parent 1 and I also feel sorry for the child of parent 2.

Themostwonderfultimeoftheyear Sat 24-Jul-21 07:24:56

Parent 1. DH is more parent 2. I regularly remind him that small children are meant to get dirty and that clothes can always be washed.

Starjammer Sat 24-Jul-21 07:25:53

I'm parent 1! We encourage DD to jump in muddy puddles and play with her mud kitchen and just explore nature and enjoy herself. Clothes wash and she doesn't wear expensive stuff to play outside. I would never call her naughty for wanting to play in mud or for getting dirty.

thelegohooverer Sat 24-Jul-21 07:26:19

I’m a parent 1.
There’s a wealth of scientific research on the importance of play and exploration, the benefits of open ended creativity, the immune system benefits of playing with dirt.

I don’t think I’ve ever once come across any study advocating the benefits of keeping clothes neat hmm

User5827372728 Sat 24-Jul-21 07:27:24

I’m parent 1, my mum was parent 2

ohfook Sat 24-Jul-21 07:27:43

I'm parent 1 married to parent 2. He has his reasons for being that way though and I do think there's a time and a place for both. For the most part though I think the onus is on us not to put them in their best clothes so they can explore without having to take care of their new trainers or whatever.

Starjammer Sat 24-Jul-21 07:27:44

Also this 'Parent 1's children (aged 5 and 3) started playing with stones and twigs in the dirt, building piles of them, and ran through the muddy puddles in the grass and held their hands under the sprinklers, getting wet and filthy' just sounds like really normal child behaviour. DD does stuff like this at nursery; it's encouraged there too. She's always wet and filthy grin

BikeRunSki Sat 24-Jul-21 07:28:12

I’m parent 1. If parent 2 would like to send her child to my Cub pack, I’ll introduce her to a bit of mud.

BonesJones Sat 24-Jul-21 07:28:55

Parent 1. The most successful playdate I ever had was when I let 7 kids play in a huge frozen muddy puddle for an hour. They still talk about it now 😂 one of the DC clearly wasn't allowed to play like this at home as they were just truly amazed that I was letting them touch the ice etc. Kept asking for various permissions constantly ('am I really allowed to throw this stick? Am I really allowed to stamp on this ice?!' etc) The mum didn't look too happy when she collected him (and he miraculously wasn't even dirty after a quick arm and leg wash!) but text later with profuse thank yous as her DC had had an amazing time, was on a total high, that she can't believe she's saying this but they were going to the same park on the weekend to play in the puddles again, did my DC want to come along? Both DC were abolsutely filthy when she dropped my DC back😂 I smugly like to think I converted her to puddle playing!

Bobbiebigbum Sat 24-Jul-21 07:31:24

Parent number 1!

Dontforgetyourbrolly Sat 24-Jul-21 07:36:38

No I don't, but I wish I could. I have cleaning ocd and to give you a bit of background I woke at 3am after a nightmare about dirty houses! I wish I wasn't like this 😕
However ds gets his fix of dirt at my mums and she lets him run feral in her garden lol
When ds was a baby he was always pristine , crazy I know. We do have lots of fun but I wish I could let go when it came to mess / dirt

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