How to Teach Kids to Help With Laundry
It’s a cautionary tale I’m sure we’ve all heard: the 18+ year old who moves away for university, only to realize after they’ve gone through their two sets of bedsheets, that they never learned to do laundry. Perhaps it was the parents’ clever way of ensuring their kid would visit home every weekend, or perhaps it was just ill planning. Either way, doing laundry is an important life skill that shouldn’t be automatically a chore for parents. After all, everyone in the family has laundry, so it only makes sense that everyone in the family helps with the laundry. Engage your family with these tips:
When your kids as as young as 5 or 6 years old, teach them what can be considered dirty laundry and where it goes. As they get older, encourage them to sort their dirty laundry and place their whites, colours, towels and delicates into different bins. What this will do is keep them aware that there is a weekly laundry routine and that they have a role in it.
Enlist their help to fold
A good precursor to actually doing the laundry, is teaching them how to sort, fold and put away the clothes post-wash.
Teach them how to use the machine
Laundry machines can be complicated and daunting with all those buttons and dials, so take the time to write out operating instructions and post them in the laundry room. Make your laundry area kid friendly by keeping stools in the area so that they can safety access things like detergent that may be stored out of reach. If you think the detergent bottles are too heavy or are afraid that your children will pour with a heavy hand, try pre-pouring the correct amount in several clearly labeled containers.
Be strict about routine
You want your kids to eventually graduate from simply following your instructions to doing their own laundry out of habit – this will take time and likely lots of nagging. Assign laundry days, commend for a job well done, and above all, be persistent and insistent that laundry is something they absolutely must know how to do.