Laundry. If you’re like me, you can hardly hear the word without feeling immediately overwhelmed. Laundry can be burdensome for anyone, but it is especially so for parents of large families such as mine. For this reason, it is important to involve your kids when it comes to doing the laundry.
When Laundry is Too Much
Recently, a dear friend confided in me that she feels like crying when she stares at the mountainous pile of laundry that her family of six creates each week. With her husband working long hours, she was often left to take care of the laundry herself. She felt like it was taking over her life. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and crying into her wildly large mountain of laundry, she decided to take matters into her own hands – or rather put them into her kids’ hands.
She started with getting each child a hamper and teaching them to put their dirty clothes only in their own hamper. Then instructed them to let her know when the hamper was full.
My friend showed them how to load the laundry into the washer, pour the detergent, switch to the dryer, fold the clothes, and put them away. To her surprise, her two oldest kids were elated to be learning how to do a “grown-up” thing. It didn’t take long at all for them to be fully capable of doing their own loads of laundry each week. She still helps her younger ones with the process but she knows that they will be capable of doing it on their own soon enough.
This can be your laundry story, too.
My friend’s laundry story can be anyone’s laundry story. You don’t have to roll over and assume that this is your life now. It doesn’t have to be. You can take charge, teach your kids, and take a weight off your own shoulders at the same time. After hearing my friend’s story, I started doing the same thing and you can too. I feel confident that one day my kids will thank me for teaching them this important life skill.
You can teach this skill to your children no matter your situation. I understand that people have different living arrangements. Some are in a home with onsite laundry, while others might be living in an apartment where you must use a laundromat. Either way, you can teach your kids to do their laundry. Here are a few tips to get you started.
5 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Do Laundry
Each Kid Has their own Laundry Day
One of the easiest ways to get your kids involved in doing their laundry is to give them each their own laundry day. You can give each of your children a separate hamper to fill with worn clothes and have them do the entire process on their day for doing laundry. The amount of help your child needs with this task will depend on his or her age and experience. The longer you do this, the better they will get!
Family Laundry Day
Maybe, for some reason, separate laundry days won’t work for you. Maybe you have more people in your family than days in the week or your schedule does not allow for laundry to be going several times a week. If this is the case, you may want to consider having a family laundry day once, twice, or even three times a week depending on the size of your family. If you have a family laundry day, you can give each child a job. One could carry the dirty laundry to the washer, another could load it, another could switch the loads, and another could bring the clean loads back.
Folding and putting away the laundry is often the biggest job, so you might want to do that all together. You could fold the laundry and put it into piles while your children grab their clothes and put them away. Or you could separate the laundry first and have your children fold and put away their own clothes.
Which way you do this might depend on your children’s ages and you may charge your older children with folding and putting away their clothes while your younger children put away clothes you have folded for them. It really depends on what works for you and your family. If your children are growing more efficient at this task and learning, that’s all you need to worry about.
Pairing up your kids to do their laundry in teams is another neat idea. This can work well if you have some older children and some younger ones that you can team up together. If you have busy schedules on certain days of the week and cannot do laundry every day, this might be a good tactic for you. Plus, you can have your kids team up to do their laundry so that it can be done two or three days a week, depending on your schedule. This is also a great way for your kids to build their teamwork skills with one another.
Laundry Mat Field Trip
Not everyone has onsite laundry. This can make laundry day quite a bit trickier, but it is still possible to get your kids involved. Consider doing a laundry mat field trip. One of the nice things about going to a laundry mat is you can do countless loads of laundry all at once. Your kids will probably need to learn how to run laundry mat machines at some point in their lives whether it is when they go to college or get their first apartment on their own. A field trip is the perfect way to spend time together, learn an important skill, and get all your laundry done in one go.
One Load a Day
One load a day keeps the stress away! Maybe none of the ways listed above is a good fit for your family, and that’s okay! You can do one load a day. Maybe you do that load in the morning and get it out of the way, or maybe you will have it going at night before bedtime. Whatever time of the day you do your own load, you can get your kids involved. One load of laundry is not so overwhelming, and most families can keep up with doing one every day. If you have a particularly large family, you may need to run two loads. Involve your kids in the process from loading the dirty laundry into the washer, to pouring the detergent, to switching the loads, to using a dryer sheet, to changing the lint trap. They will thank you one day!
There are other little things you can teach your kids to help cut back on laundry like re-wearing jeans that aren’t dirty or not changing their clothes multiple times a day. Teaching these little things as well as helping them gain these skills will help them to obtain an important life skill and will take some pressure off you.