Now twenty years on I have begun to notice that this seemingly small task continues to pop up as being a key behaviour in establishing habits that lead to success. Most notably is Navel Admiral William McRaven’s famous commencement speech to the University of Texas, in which the former U.S Special Operations Commander states “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Teaching children to make their bed is setting them up for powerful character traits that will assist them in later life. Here’s how;
It teaches self-discipline
Learning to follow through with tasks regardless of how we feel is a critical skill in pursuing any difficult endeavour. Little did I know that by making my bed every morning I was practising the habit of acting on what was right over what was easy or what I felt like doing. Renowned author of the Four Hour Work Week and successful venture capitalist, Tim Ferris, praises making his bed as amongst his most important morning rituals. He claims that it reiterates the trait of discipline and starts off his day with accomplishment. By encouraging children early on to do the same it is using a modest task to build self-discipline which can be applied to larger endeavours when the time comes.
It Establishes Routine
Perhaps the reason I resisted pulling up my covers, was I knew it was cutting off the option of jumping straight back into bed and snuggling up in my warm blankets. In this respect, my mother was creating a morning routine for my siblings and I, in which making our bed signalled the start to another day. As children, we thrived on the consistent rituals and despite our family having various sporting and school commitments our mornings were mostly smooth and efficient. Consistent behaviours such as making the bed is an easy and consistent task that can help children to establish routine and time management.
It Reinforces Care and Effort
Growing up I had a very influential teacher who told me that to be great we have to make excellence a habit. This meant putting care into the small things such as brushing our teeth and making our bed. Though mundane at best, over time consistent effort in the small things can amount to large outcomes. In an ever consumer driven world, teaching children to take care and pride in their possessions is an invaluable quality.
So despite my initial objections, I am glad my Mum insisted on this simple task. Nowadays I continue to start my day with this small win and enjoy the sense of pride and accomplishment it brings. I also plan on utilising this habit to emphasise discipline, routine and care with my own children someday in the hope that it helps them grow into successful adults.
Linique is an Australian owned company who manufacturers customised sheets for childcare centres and Kindergartens. For more information about how you or your parents can get sheets specific to your beds see our website Linique.com.au
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