(adapting a purported excerpt titled “Tips to look after your husband” from a 1950s Home Economics Schoolbook. Edited and updated for the 2000s)
After a rough day at the sandbox, every kindergartener needs a haven where they can renew themselves in body and spirit.
1. Have snacks ready
“Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious snack on time. This is a way of letting them know that you have been thinking about them and are concerned about their needs. Most kindergarteners are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good snack are part of the warm welcome needed.”
2. Prepare yourself
“Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when they arrive home. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. They have just been with a lot of kindergarten-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. Their boring day may need a lift.”
3. Clear away the clutter
“Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your kindergartener arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your kindergartener will feel they have reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.”
4. Prepare the dolls and toys
“Take a few minutes to wash the dolls’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and they would like to see them playing the part.”
5. Minimise all noise
“At the time of their arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, dishwasher or vacuum. Try to ensure that the toys are quiet. Be happy to see your kindergartener. Greet them with a warm smile and be glad to see them.”
6. Some dont’s
“Don’t greet them with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if they are late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what they might have gone through that day.”
7. Make them comfortable
“Have them lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest they lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for them. Arrange their pillow and offer to take off their shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow them to relax and unwind.”
8. Listen to them
“You may have a lot of things to tell them, but the moment of their arrival is not the time. Let them talk first.”
9. Make the evening theirs
“Never complain if they do not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand their world of strain and pressure, their need to come home and relax.”
“Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your kindergartener can renew themselves in body and spirit.”
A warm thank you to the Lisa Carlucci for bringing the original 1950 set of guidelines to my attention.
Editor’s note: the adaptation simply changes the words “husband”/“man” to “kindergartener”; “meals” to “snacks”; “children” to “dolls/toys”; and the personal pronouns to the third person plural form. The rest of the text pretty much remains the same.