- Family and Parenting
How I Taught My Kids To Do Laundry
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I started having my children help me with chores around the house when they were young. Of course they didn’t have a great deal of responsibility at the time but they had fun cleaning with me. For the most part they were responsible for their own toys and space. Slowly I added more and more tasks and choirs to their lists as they got older. In no time my kids were getting themselves dressed and making their own beds on a regular basis. They now set up and clean up the dinner table as well including washing, drying and putting away the clean dishes. One of the more difficult tasks that I taught them was how to do laundry. Because there are several steps to laundry I taught them how to do the laundry in stages and now they are doing it all on their own.
- Fold and Put Away Clean Clothes – At first I taught my kids how to fold and put away their laundry. This was probably the more difficult step. My son just wanted to shove everything into his dresser drawers until they exploded over. Something about getting it done so he could go and play. This was fine for a bit but then got difficult when he tried to get his clothes out to wear. Slowly I taught them how to fold their clothes and put them away. My kids still do not fold or hang up their clothing perfectly but at least their clothes are put away to their liking and they can still keep their rooms clean for the most part.
- Unfold Dirty Clothes – Once they got the hang of putting away their own clothes which took a little bit of time I introduced them to getting their clothes ready to wash. If your kids are like mine their clothes get tossed in the hamper or basket as is when they take them off. So I taught my kids how to fold (or is it unfold?) their clothes inside right so that they were not inside out or bunched up when they went into the wash. So now my kids had two parts of the laundry down. On wash day they would bring their clothes to the laundry room and unfold them. Then they would wait for the laundry to be done and put their clothes away. Once they had these two parts down I introduced the third part.
- Using the Washer – Teaching my kids how to use the washer was very simple the hardest part about it was how much detergent to pour. My children also had a bit a problem with being able to handle the detergent bottle since I get the large bottle which is a bit heavy for small hands but they got the hang of that pretty quickly as well.My children learned quickly how to set the washing machine, how high to fill the machine with clothes, how to add detergent and then start the machine. It took no time for them to understand how to use the washing machine and then it was on to the dryer.
- Using the Dryer – Once my kids got good at using the washer I started to introduce the dryer to them. The funny part about this was that my kids are still relatively short and I don’t have a front load washer. Getting the clothes at the bottom of the washing machine was quite a challenge for my children. They quickly found a way to get all of the clothes out. One of my kids uses a step stool while the other two hoist themselves up so that their hands reach the bottom of the washer. Loading the dryer and turning it on was easy for them and now they were ready to put all the steps together. The one part that my kids continually forget is to clean the lint catcher but that will come with time and reminders.
- Putting it All Together – Once they had all the parts down then it was time to put all the steps together. For the first few times I watched as they went through the entire process and I was completely impressed. They wanted to prove to me that they could remember every step and they did. I still watched to make sure that they didn’t miss a step. I was pleasantly surprised that they were able to do their laundry on their own without a hitch. Although it took time to bring it all together it was all worth the wait. Now their laundry is their responsibility next step is to get them to do mine.
Teaching my children to do their own laundry was relatively easy. First they watched me and then they learned the process step by step. The one thing that I have to remember when teaching my children any new chore is that they might not be perfect at it or they might not do it quite the way I would like them to. They are children and they are just learning so it is important to give it some time. I try not to make too many rules so that they can develop their own process of independence. Once they learn a new chore it is not only wonderful for them but for me as well.
Teaching my children to do chores gives them a sense of responsibility and the independence that they need to become successful in life. Teaching children responsibility gives them the necessary tools in life to be successful citizens. These are skill sets they will need in school, at work and in life.