Good & Bed: The importance of making beds
The distance between bed and bedlam isn’t too much. If you want to start your day as well as that of your kids on a peaceful note, the bed or rather making your bed with your kid is the best way to start.
Yog Maya Singh
If we take a look at the shows on TV or movies or even web series popular culture shows most parents investing in night-time or sleep routine for their kids (like reading, warm baths etc.), but very few families have waking up or morning rituals in place. In most Indian families, the waking up ritual includes the fan or ac being turned off by the house help. I think we can do better than this. One of the best ways to start the day with your child/children is to make beds with them and ask while making the bed, “Did you sleep well last night?” If parents get to know how their child slept the previous night, they would understand what support the child needs the next day. Use your powers of discernment and know which feelings of the kids should be given weightage and where the little ones are just trying to hoodwink you so that you spare them from going to school. Sometimes the child not sleeping well might be a sign of weak immunity. Season change generally isn’t conducive to good sleep. If your child says he/she couldn’t sleep because it was too hot/too cold, take care of their sleep for at least the next two days by either ventilating the room properly or giving the child an extra blanket/comforter.
If this question is asked while making the bed, it will let the child know that his sleep is essential for the happy functioning of the whole family, but he needs to ‘communicate’ his feelings every day to be part of a happy family unit.
Making the bed with your child or letting them do it alone as they grow up has many other benefits:
- It is a light warm-up exercise where you use your hands, neck, legs and eyes to fold a blanket/comforter. Your circulation starts on a light note.
- If two siblings are doing this activity together, it increases the chance of sibling bonding
- If you let the kids know making the bed is non-negotiable, and they are supposed to do it except in emergency circumstances, it will make them wake up with at least 5 minutes in hand, and they won’t rush as we have seen many people do when they are getting late. The benefits of this are visible when kids grow into adulthood and go far away from their parents to study. They don’t rush from one activity to another and also know that others will take care of their belongings only if they take care of their belongings.
- One of the most important benefits of making your bed is that it teaches kids about symmetry when they fold the ends of the blanket properly. Folding clothes/bedsheets etc. has been said to reduce immediately as per a few scientific studies. If one is prone to overthinking, using one’s hands for mild exercise like folding clothes can quickly reduce stress levels
- Talking while making beds is a perfect time to communicate with generally non-communicative teenagers. In most cases, a few minutes after waking up, we are still in a languid phase and still operating from our hearts, even if a little groggily. The stresses of daily life start kicking in into one’s consciousness after a few minutes. Kids are more open at this time though the level of openness may vary from kid to kid. Even if they don’t respond, you will be at peace at having known that you tried your best
- It also teaches kids to clean up after themselves. Then no matter whether they are using a public toilet or staying at a friend’s place for the night, the place will be left clean for use by the next person. Something as small as making your bed is enough to turn your kids into conscientious citizens. It is less about the activity of making the bed; it is more about not always expecting others to do the work and also knowing that one has both rights and duties as a human being in a family, society or country
- It teaches kids the organisation and gives them a sense of achievement right in the morning. There, one task completed within 5 minutes of waking up. If in the beginning you genuinely compliment your little kids on how neatly they tucked the ends of the bedsheets or how they made their bed in a short time, believe me, this appreciation when they are young will take your kids farther than disciplining them at a later stage can ever hope to achieve
- Making your kids’ bed with them can give you insights into any health issues or other issues your child might be facing. If your child has been bed wetting or has other health issues that they are too shy to talk about, you can get to know this right at the beginning. If your kid generally doesn’t wet the bed but has suddenly started to or has been sweating profusely through the night when it is not even hot, these may be signs of the child being bullied or having had nightmares at night. Don’t prod and pry too much but use your own insights to help the kid to talk to you.
- It makes them gender-sensitive. Especially boys know then that keeping the house clean is their responsibility too.
- It teaches them aesthetic sense if you allow them to choose their bedsheets, pillows, blankets etc. early on in childhood. They get to have a better understanding of fabrics that are conducive to good sleep, mattresses that are suitable for our backs, colours that go well with each other and prints that clash. Sleeping well is the foundation of a happy existence. Also, if the kids’ bed has nightstands, make sure cleaning that up (at least organising it before leaving the room/house) is important too.
Oh, how I remember the days when as a child I was supposed to fold the mosquito net (macchardani) in the morning! Wonder how kids would fare in these times of mosquito repellents if they had to fold the ajab–gajab net. Let us know if any of you or your kids find peace sleeping in the safe confines of the mosquito nets.