Survival Essentials: The Spring Cleaning Legacy

Average: 4 (1 vote)

As children, many of us probably envied our parents just a little during spring-cleaning season, particularly if they were the type to respond to declarations of boredom with a list of apparently nonsensical household tasks. With heavy hearts — sprinkled with a smattering of annoyance — we'd get to work on the washing up, finish the window cleaning, or begin sanding the stair rails.  

Parenting styles have evolved significantly since those stair-sanding, dishwashing youthful days of yore. Even then, discipline levels and communication techniques varied from family to family: now, however, we have parenting globalization to contend with. 
Today, child-rearing demonstrations exist on television, too. Radical approaches, contentious debates, an ever-increasing list of long-term consequences and "super-nannies" with a sixth sense akin to Mary Poppins remind us — on a daily basis — that we could be doing just a little better. Refreshing, no?
As parents, the full complexity of life suddenly becomes apparent. Then we realize that we have to somehow equip our joyous little bundles with the know-how to navigate the world. We have to teach them survival skills. 
"Wait: Spring-cleaning is a survival skill? The kids won't buy this…."
Why yes, it is. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then we'll begin.
No Whining, Little Johnny: Cleaning is a Survival Skill
In essence, the annual spring-cleaning frenzy is a collection of routine maintenance tasks. Some tasks need to get done if you want to remain comfortable in your home. Other tasks are essential if you plan to survive: especially if you live in an area that gets very cold in the winter, or very hot in the summer. 
If you heat your house with a corn-burning or wood-burning stove, for example, regular chimney maintenance is essential. If the stove's chimney doesn't get cleaned, it will eventually plug completely and you'll end up with a smoke-filled home. At the very least, smoke stinks like crazy and stains everything in sight. Smoke inhalation can also cause serious damage to the lungs.
So, some chores really are essential to survival. 
"Wait a minute: What about washing up?"
We'll talk about that next.
Sit Down Suzy: Let's Talk About Cause and Effect
FACT: Raw chickens are notorious smugglers: chicken meat is often covered in a bacterial bevy, which is destroyed when it is cooked. Among the hidden threats are tiny little sausage-shaped germs called salmonella, which have a very unpleasant — and occasionally fatal — effect on the human digestive tract.
Before stomping off to the kitchen in frustration, consider what might happen if we left last night's chicken dinner dishes sitting in the sink for three days:
1. Bacteria in our mouths end up on our forks, which we put in the sink with the rest of the dishes. Salmonella bacteria from the chopping board we used to cut up the chicken can add extra zing to the combination.
2. Bacteria multiply quickly, particularly in a warm, moist environment like food, or a kitchen sink. The "danger zone" starts at 40°F and goes all the way up to 140°F.
3. Here's how quickly one germ can turn into a billion little beasties, all of them too small to be seen by the human alone:
4. Bacteria in the kitchen sink can spreads quickly: taps, rags, countertops, doors, hands…. Basically, everywhere in your home. In a very short space of time. 
5. At some point, hands and mouths meet. Human bodies make perfect bacterial incubators and when bacteria get into a digestive tract, food poisoning can occur very quickly.
Can you imagine how many bacteria might be on a chicken-contaminated chopping board after three days? Hazmat suits can, thankfully, be found on Amazon….
TIP: Kiddies see, kiddies do. To make a food hygiene lesson — or any other message — count, your tots have to see you following your own advice. Kids' learning styles vary: some children prefer to watch a demonstration, while others prefer to read a set of instructions. In both cases, however, they look to you for the ultimate example of what to do and what not to do.
Kids and Communities
Human communities remain strong through teamwork; in modern times, adults complete most of the big, important tasks. This infrastructure may seem logical: it does, however, have a downside.
Kids are often left feeling insignificant. Their chores feel like pointless "play work." They want to be really useful: they want to be just like you.
When children are made aware of an essential chore's potentially lifesaving role, they recognize the importance of their apparently small contribution. It's not really small at all: it's essential, just like the chore. When kids know that they are vital members of a family — and a community — they feel included, purposeful and proud of themselves.
So go ahead, spring-clean your heart out: involve your children and pass the fruitful legacy on to the next generation. If that isn't positive parenting, what is?
Bacterial Growth Image Citation
Sunnie Kim, Food Safety: Introduction to Control of Food Hazards- General and Specific, 

Add new comment

The Art of Washing Dishes

No votes yet

dad dish washing soap sudsThis past week our automatic dishwasher broke down. Between all the normal busy stuff and my severe lack of mechanical abilities, it took a week to get repaired. Nothing overly complicated once I tore it apart – just a split drain hose. However in the mean time it meant we had to go old-school with regards to doing dishes. For some of you this is a no brainer. For others (like my kids) it was new and uncharted territory to navigate. I’ll share with you the art of washing dishes by hand as taught to me by my grandmother. The bonus is the magic that occurred over this week…..

Cleaning Your Motorcycle Helmet Face shield

Average: 3 (5 votes)

cycle helmetEveryone who rides motorcycles (and wears a helmet) will sooner or later need to clean their face shield. This article is about a simple and easy (home made)way to clean yours without a lot of effort and without scratching the shield either.

Children's Books Recommendations for Story Time

Average: 5 (2 votes)

Looking for a good book to read to your child? I have my master list of books that are can't miss choices on the first go around...and many subsequent re-reads. These books will not only be big hits with your child, but they’ll also be interesting enough to entertain you as well. After two years of children’s stories, I can assure you your child isn’t the only one that can be brought to tears with the wrong story time choice; too much of a bad read can bring a parent to the brink as well.

The Challenge of Chores

No votes yet

Grumbling, complaining, and outright refusing: these are a few of the responses a dad might receive when he begins the dreaded task of assigning chores. Kids will never find chores fun, despite what Mary Poppins might say, but being consistent and offering rewards can result in a happier household.

A chore chart is the basic organizational tool for scheduling and assigning chores. These charts can take different forms according to how relaxed or strict you would like them to be. For instance, assigning a specific chore for each day of the week, such as "wash dishes on Tuesdays" is great for younger kids who respond well to routine. As kids become older, you might want to let them have more control over their chores by putting a list on the refrigerator and giving kids a week in which to complete those assigned to him.

Essential Office Goodies

No votes yet

So you’re now a Dad....Spending every spare moment you have doing things for someone else in the family. Whether for productivity or to add a little fun to the office, these gadget suggestions are your way of saying thanks to yourself…..

Recommend to:



Author Information

Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/12/2012 - 9:31pm

Dad Blogs