How to cope when your Child creates a Mess

One day I came home from the weekly shop to find my (then) 7 year old on a child’s step up at the kitchen counter.

The first thing I noticed was flour and small lumps of dough smothering our dark grey, stick-on tiles, and the second thing was my son turning to one side and brushing his fingers off onto the floor spreading more flour and dough!

On closer inspection he had an apron on, and a mixing bowl with flour and water in it. Dad was asleep on the sofa. A LOT of thoughts ran through my mind, I can tell you! 😈😠.


How could my son be so thoughtless and make such a mess? Why wasn’t my husband supervising? What was the boy doing, anyway? How was I going to clear THIS up?

But fortunately on that occasion, I was so shocked that my mind had time to work out some answers while another part of me took in the comedy of the scene and burst out laughing! . Highly unusual for me at the time, but it was all I could do! 

Take a Step back before reacting (even go in another room if you have to, to cool off)

My mind quickly worked out that he had been making scones at school that week, and clearly wanted to make some for us at home. Also that, like me, he was uncomfortable with the feeling of sticky dough on his fingers (I never baked because of this). So for him, it was natural to brush his fingers off to get rid of the discomfort and he was too young and inexperienced to think about the consequences.

It took several weeks to get all of the water and flour paste (basically glue) off the floor but I’m proud to say, on that occasion I kept my cool, and my son still enjoys cooking today!  It could so easily have gone the other way and maybe put him off cooking for life…. (more on “traumas” another day…)

“What are you trying to do?”

So next time your child makes a mess or does something that, on the surface, looks “bad”, take a step back and think about what they might be trying to do. If they are old enough, ask them. You might be surprised. They might be trying to be good, or kind, but going the wrong way about it. Either way, having taken time out beforehand, you can begin to explain to them how to go about what they want to do better, next time.

If you’re struggling to see the funny side of your family’s antics…don’t worry, we’ve all been there! However if you would like to be able to shrug off this, and other situations more easily and maintain your Calm, or even get to laugh occasionally, then contact me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @vickitongeman or drop me a line on the “Contact me” page.

You can access a free 1-1 session online or in person, to begin to resolve what’s causing your stress and overwhelm.




Vicki Tongeman

Vicki Tongeman

Vicki Tongeman is a Wife, Mother, Artist, Teacher, Author and Coach. She lives on the beautiful shores near the New Forest and loves walking and being mindful on the beach and in nature. Her friends call her the “Magic Mermaid” as she combines life changing coaching techniques with a sprinkle of Mermaid Magic!

As an NLP Practitioner and personal coach Vicki is passionate about helping people develop their inner self confidence and achieve their goals.


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