House proud parents do not play with their children because they are scared of messing up their pristine homes, claims a childcare expert.
Professor Susan Deacon says mums and dads should be letting their houses get untidy so youngsters can make dens and tents in the living room, or come home muddy after hunting for insects in the park.
Professor Deacon said there was a campaign in the US for such play, and she would love to see one here, where pressure to have an interiors-magazine style home has put parents off having good old-fashioned fun.
She said: 'Kids should be looking for bugs in the park or building tents out of sheets in the living room. Parents should be willing to let their houses get more messy. There is a campaign about that by US parents and I would love to see it here.'
The Professor - a mum-of-two and former health minister for Scotland - made her comments as she launched a Government-backed report on improving youngsters' start in life.
'All of us could do better as parents, spending time with children, giving them more attention,' she said.
What do you think?
Do you agree with Prof Deacon?
Do you shy away form messy play at home?