Is there really so much wisdom contained within the act of making a bed? Yes, but only if the child makes the bed every day.
At first thought it may seem like a small act, but acts that help to sculpt a child's character are not without significance.
By making his daily bed, a child will learn five character-building lessons that will stay with him for life:
He will learn to listen to your requests, acknowledge what you expect from him, and then act on that expectation. Obedience is a habit, and you want to teach your children to be obedient when they're very young because it will save you both oceans of grief later.
A child who obeys his parents out of love (not fear) is a child who respects his parents. A child who respects his parents is going to be easier to live with when he hits his teens.
There is no such thing as "too early" when it comes to instilling the habit of obedience in your child. But there is too late!
Our surroundings matter. Clutter and chaos burden our minds and weigh us down without our even being aware of it. But put your surroundings into order, and immediately you'll notice how much lighter you feel, how much freer you feel from no longer harboring nagging thoughts such as, "I have to do this" or "I have to finish that."
There are an ease and tranquility that comes with order — knowing that there's a time and a place for every matter under the sun including the making of one's bed will do wonders for your child.
There is order in the universe, but order shouldn't stop with the universe.
To maintain the kind of natural order that precedes an orderly mind comes from simple daily acts such as doing dishes and making beds. You want to teach your child that outward orderliness is a virtue, and he should strive for and maintain it at all times.
And it begins with making his bed.
Ah, the key to greatness: discipline.
Without discipline we are ships at the mercy of the winds, never knowing where we're headed and headed nowhere.
The ability to accomplish anything worth doing, whether it be to learn a musical instrument, master a foreign language, or improve our health through diet and exercise, requires discipline.
Unless we've developed the habit of discipline, we'll quit any new endeavor before we make significant progress. But if we are a disciplined person, we'll plod forward until we eventually reach our goal.
A life devoid of discipline is an unrealized Mozart or Einstein or Da Vinci. Maybe not exactly, because there's more to greatness than discipline, but having discipline is a prerequisite to any worthwhile accomplishment.
Discipline develops through the little acts in childhood we do, such as making our beds.
Making a bed isn’t just throwing the cover over the bed. It’s learning how to make a bed neatly and this requires diligence.
If the child has a top sheet and blanket, they need to pull both up, pull the top sheet back, and fold the sheet and blanket under the mattress. Then they need to fluff and lay down the pillows and pull the bedspread over everything, and tuck it under the pillows.
If you want to get really particular, you can teach them how to make hospital corners when they’re older.
If they have a duvet and no top sheet, they still need to straighten out the bottom sheet, fluff the duvet, lie it out evenly over the bed, fluff the pillows, and put them gently on top.
Either way, they need to learn to pay attention to detail and apply effort to make the bed look as nice and neat as they possibly can. In the beginning, they may need a little help, but over time they’ll become a pro at making their beds on their own, and they’ll learn how to be diligent too.
You may wonder why I've added "accomplishment" to this list. My reason is simple: the achievement of making a bed carries something intangible with it. When you accomplish anything–and for a three-year-old making a bed is a HUGE accomplishment–how do you feel?
Most of us feel proud, capable, competent, and confident. We feel unburdened–we feel ease.
This is the reward that a child gains from the simple act of making his bed every day too.
And the final lesson is this: while it's challenging to exercise discipline, the sense of satisfaction and all that comes with it has far more worth than whatever effort was required to get there.
When a child develops the habit of discipline from an early age, it will help him to make the right choices in life, choices that will bring him success and great satisfaction.
Is making a bed a trivial act?
On the contrary, it's the sand in the oyster's shell.
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Elizabeth Y. Hanson combines her training in holistic medicine, parenting coach certificate, plus 17+ years working in education to provide you with a unique approach to raising and educating your children.
A veteran homeschooler herself, she now has two homeschooled children in college.