Summer is in full swing. Whether it be the annual swim lessons, summer camps, days at the beach or just hanging around the house, parents are working out new schedules for their kids. This, of course, happens while moms and dads are adjusting and also keeping up with their own commitments.
General routines often fall apart during the summer months. The house gets messy. The kids forget their responsibilities. Sometimes lazy summer days cause more chaos than actual relaxation. Part of the frustration felt by both parents and children is they aren't sure about expectations when the larger portion of the day is not consumed with school. Do we stick to the morning routine, even if mornings begin a little later in the day? Are kids still expected to complete certain chores, even when they are on vacation? Making decisions regarding these little questions will help to smooth out just how to work in a summer schedule, even when an actual schedule may not exist.
As many of you know, I advocate for kids to do chores around the house. By the age of two or three children are well aware of the difference between messy and clean. While a toddler isn't dexterous enough to unload a dishwasher, they can put away their toys, place items on lower shelves in a pantry, drop dirty clothes in a laundry basket and put their shoes in a closet or shoe box. Depending on the size of their bed, the easiest way to begin introducing chores and expectations is with making their bed. Here are five reasons every child should make their bed every day. That's right. You read every day. No matter where a child (or adult) may be sleeping, making a bed should be the first chore they accomplish. Here is why:
1. Beds take up the majority of space in a bedroom
All the pillows and stuff that can't go on a bed when it is unmade goes on the floor. Considering the bed is the largest item in a bedroom, and much of its contents clutter the floor around it, a room is about 85% messy when opting out of the bed-making scenario. Once kids make their beds, put the pillows, stuffed animals and other snuggly items in place, their room is 85% cleared of the disorder and therefore pretty well picked up. Plus, it takes less than five minutes to make a bed and spruce up a room. That's a pretty great return on investment.
2. Instant increase in efficiency
All the clutter that your kids have put in place by making their bed has now freed their mind for more relevant tasks for the day. Much like yoga, making a bed in the morning acts like a mind-cleansing agent. It's an easy to conquer task with huge dividends. Now more kid-sized tasks are easier to tackle. Suddenly the world isn't such a big, unpredictable and tough place for a young person to figure out.
3. Little things in life really do matter
Naval Admiral William H. McRaven gave a commencement speech about making an impact on people and how simple daily tasks can make all the difference. He called it "10 Life Lessons From a Navy Seal." In it he states:
"If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter".
4. They will sleep better
Fresh, crisp sheets that slowly adjust to your child's body temperature, beginning firm and gradually becoming softer, are much easier to fall asleep on than crumpled, scrunchy ones from the night before. Much like a wrinkled shirt, second-day socks, day-old underwear, and bed head, clean clothes and fresh hair serve you better. It's the same for the made bed.
Liken it to a hotel room. Who doesn't enjoy lying on the crisp, cool sheet found in a hotel room? That same feeling can be enjoyed at home. Just have your children make their bed in the am. By bedtime sweet dreams for your little ones will become a reality.
5. Hope for tomorrow
Annie sings, "The sun will come out tomorrow." Sometimes kids have tough days and go to bed grumpy. If by chance they have a miserable day, they will come home to a bed that is made (that was made by them). A bed made earlier in the day was an accomplishment, giving them encouragement that tomorrow will be better.