Mother applauded for her ‘beautiful’ response to daughter’s messy toys

A mother has been praised online after she was “overwhelmed” by her daughter’s messy playroom, but offered some perspective instead.

In a viral video posted to TikTok, mother of three Bri Knavel shared footage of her daughter’s many toys sprawled out on the carpeted floor. The clip showed how Knavel’s daughter had positioned each of her Barbie dolls in various playsets throughout the room.

As she filmed the video at her child’s eye level, Knavel explained that this allowed her to truly see how “beautiful” her daughter’s imagination really was. “It looks like a big mess until you get down to their level, then you see their childhood,” she wrote over the video.

“Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with the ‘mess’ when I slow down to really see what’s in front of me,” Knavel captioned the clip. “Then I see it’s their childhood and it’s beautiful.”

Since it was posted on 13 February, the video has been viewed on TikTok more than 6.1m times. In the comments section, fellow parents praised Knavel’s shift in perspective and emphasised how important playtime is for childhood development.

“It’s not a mess. It’s imagination,” one TikTok user commented. “Once you lose those messes they will never come back.”

“It’s all about perspective,” another person shared, while a third user wrote: “I will never look at a ‘mess’ the same again. “

“This makes me regret all the times I told them to ‘clean this mess,’” said someone else. “Little did I know, I was ruining their make believe world.”

Others admitted that Knavel’s poignant message even made them get emotional, like one person who said: “Omg this made me cry and appreciate her little mess.”

“Thanks for that cry session I didn’t know I needed,” another shared.

Several studies have shown that playtime for children can significantly benefit their health and brain development. In the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical report from 2018, “The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children,” researchers found that playing with both parents and peers can improve a child’s ability to plan, organise, regulate emotions, and communicate with others. Play can also help develop language, math and social skills, as well as ways of coping with stress.

Another mother recently went viral on TikTok when she also encouraged her daughter to be creative, despite how messy it may be. In January, Arizona mother Kira sparked a debate when she revealed that she allows her two-year-old daughter to draw on the floor of their house. She shared footage of what was leftover after allowing her daughter to draw on the kitchen floor, with the wooden floors covered in red, blue, and brown crayon markings.

“Healing my inner child is letting my two-year-old colour on the kitchen floor while I’m cooking,” Kira wrote over the TikTok video. “She asked me first and I said yes. She tried to ask if she could colour on the cabinet and I said no and she listened. She knows this is only allowed right here. But she had the most fun and it can all be cleaned,” the mother added.

The 29-year-old mother captioned the viral TikTok video: “Trying to give her the happiest childhood”.

While some people praised her for letting her daughter express her creativity, others believed there was a way to do so without being so messy. Speaking to The Independent, Kira explained that letting her daughter draw on the floor allowed her to experience certain freedoms that she wished she had as a child. According to Kira, healing her “inner child” involved giving her toddler a safe space where she could explore herself.

“I think it’s creating an environment where she’s not scared to be herself or push boundaries and try new things,” the mother of one said. “Then I participate with her and it makes me feel like, ‘Okay, I’m in a safe space now too.’

“I feel like I’m getting a part of my childhood that I didn’t get all the time,” she added.

Kira also urged fellow parents to “have an open mind” when it comes to new or different parenting techniques.

“It doesn’t have to be the same way for everyone, and she doesn’t have to grow up the same way that you grew up. I think that’s important, to break that generational trauma that a lot of people have, by changing how you raise your kid,” Kira said. “If you didn’t like the way you were raised, you can change it.”

The Independent has contacted Knavel for comment.