While I am a very crafty mum, art hasn’t been a big deal in my house because I’m a stickler for a clean home. On the rare occasion that we would dabble with paints, it would be on a rubber sheet so that the mess would be strictly contained to one obscure corner of the house. The constant worry of paint, crayons marks on the walls was enough to give me ulcers and a compelling enough reason to make me lock away the paints!

Bath time was a different story. We dabbled with colours in the bath and painted the walls with washable colours. Waterplay was more than welcome because clean up was easy peasy.

So, that’s me – a cleanliness freak and lazy Mum. While I make sure my kids are fed, bathed and loved, please don’t ask me to entertain them.

I’ve never been a Mum who could sit and play with the kids. I would do it for awhile, sing some songs, do some silly goofy stuff, giggle a lot and then go back to doing adult stuff. My kids have figured that out and have learnt to entertain themselves. Survival instincts I guess!

My 9 year old Chi and 7 year old Ki require a lot less involvement from me now especially when it comes to playtime. Other than the occasional board game where they need an extra team member, or when they need a referee to resolve a conflict, they are independent little busy bodies.

Elaborate cities are built with Lego, forts are constructed with sheets and tables tipped over on their sides. Soft toys are zip lining on skipping ropes, aliens are invading, animal shelters are made out of amazon boxes, the fun is endless when the imagination runs wild!

My unconscious choice of the freeplay approach, that stemmed from a very laid back parenting style, seems to have actually worked in my favour!

While I wish each child came with a user manual, all we can do is trust our mommy instincts and do what we think is best for our babies.

Because, at the end of the day there is no such thing as perfect kids… just happy ones!

Author – Chiki Mom ( Sheryl Tauro)