We have multiple children (eight) and a long-time family tradition is “Child of the Week” which has shortened to COW. Each Sunday, a new child becomes COW. We simply go in age order, starting with the oldest and moving down the line. With our five children still at home, they are COW every five weeks.
Any time there is an issue that could cause strife or argument, such as selecting the movie to watch or to rent at the video store, or a seating arrangement in the car, or who sits by Dad at dinner or during story hour: COW gets the privilege! It ends many a situation calmly that could have been a source of contention. Once “Child of the Week” becomes part of your family routine, it will settle all such petty complaints as each child knows their turn comes.
COW Outings for One-on-One Time
Another perk of being COW is a special “cow outing” some time during the week. The outing provides one-to-one time for the COW with either Mom or Dad. A COW outing might be a few turns at the batting cages or a trip to the local coffee shop, favorite fast food restaurant or ice cream parlor. But our COW outings are not always an expense; sometimes it is simply a one-to-one trip to the park playing on their level (pushing on the swings or tossing a Frisbie, depending on the child) or flying a kite together or attending story time at the library and bringing home one of their DVDs.
COW outings vary by the age and interest of each child. I have one daughter who loves to spend an hour or so hitting resale stores with me looking for a bargain while my son will ask Dad to go to the park and play catch or buy an ice cream; younger kids might pick a happy meal (which is never purchased by our family any time except as COW) or a trip to Dollar Tree for a $1 item.
When Do You Start COW?
No child is allowed into the COW rotation until they are successfully potty trained. Believe me, your toddler will want to be potty trained to take their rightful place in the rotation for the privileges it brings. Every parent knows that any incentive in this area is a welcome addition to your potty training arsenal.
On Sunday, my husband will often ask, “Who is COW this week?” at which point all the children know whose turn it is. (Trust me, you will not have to remember; they will take care of that for you as it is so special to them.) My husband, being the family laugh master, will often require the new child of the week to moo like a COW. Sometimes we ask what they want for their COW outing so we can plan it into our schedule if needed.
Other Benefits of COW
Our children range now from 7 to 29, with those at home being 7 to 15, and this has been a family tradition for more than two decades. We have found it a source for some special memories, a means of quick resolution to a sticky situation (like who gets that last odd brownie or selects the bedtime book), and a way to allow for guilt-free time where each child knows they have “their” time.
As a parent, it has also had the benefit of an opportunity to learn insights about a child that might not be revealed with the siblings around, and it has made quick trips to the store or a Saturday errand more possible when only COW accompanies Dad or I while the others remain home. We hope this little idea reaps some benefit in your family as you try it.