Top Laundry Chore Tips For Children By Age
Every child you add to your family brings an addition of dirty laundry. If you try to do all this laundry yourself, you’ll quickly find that it’s all you have time for. While you probably can’t add a second washer or dryer to help save time, you can teach the kids who make the dirty laundry to clean it themselves, resulting in helpful and productive kids and more free time for you (if that is such a thing when you have kids). Here are a few tips to help teach your kids to help with the laundry.
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The Whole Process
The laundry process begins, not with washing, but with changing clothes. If you can teach laundry skills to your kids at this stage of the process, then, you’ll already be ahead of the game. Fortunately, this part of the process is also the easiest, meaning you can begin to teach these skills as young as two or even younger, depending on the abilities of your child. Teach your children how to change their clothes, then show them where to put their dirty clothes once they’ve taken them off. You can use labels on laundry baskets to ensure lights and darks are properly separated.
Make it Exciting
For some children, the process of doing laundry may be difficult to teach. However, if you can elevate the laundry process beyond simply doing laundry, you may gain the interest and obedience of difficult children. For example, if your child is more mechanically minded, you may gain their attention by pointing out the mechanical aspects of the washer and dryer. If you have an emergency leak that requires you to call a 24-hours plumber, you can make your kids into junior plumbers who help lay down towels to sop up clean water until the professional arrives. Let them help with messes and hold items for you! Children love to be told they are good at helping. Then, apply that excitement to the other aspects of the laundry process. This tip can be applied for ages as young as 18 months.
Fold it Up
Three- and four-year-olds can help significantly more than their younger counterparts. The best place to start with this age is folding clothes. Though it can be excruciating at first as you watch your children slowly (and messily) fold the clean laundry, the skills they learn through trial and error will pay off as they gain experience. Over time, you’ll be impressed at the folding skills they develop, resulting in true time-saving help for you.
The process of starting a load of laundry in the washer should be delegated to children who are much older. This is mainly due to the potentially dangerous ingredients found in most laundry detergents and the drowning risk that the washer represents. While younger children can certainly watch you as you start the washer, delegation shouldn’t happen until your children are eight years old or older. This ensures they are able to measure the detergent correctly and to work around the washer safely. Again, there is certainly variance in this age, depending on the maturity and abilities of your children.
Laundry is one skill where it can be easy to swoop in and do the task yourself when you see your kids struggling. However, try to suppress this urge as much as possible. Regularly showing your frustration when your kids don’t do something exactly right will only discourage them from trying harder to learn the task correctly. Therefore, do your best not to stress, and before you know it, you’ll have plenty of laundry helpers to make your task easier.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan