Laundry is such a pesky chore. One of those to do’s that is rarely done.
With four kids at home and a husband who claims he doesn’t know how to work “that crazy contraption” my hamper runneth over more often than not. So, that’s exactly why I decided to begin training my kids to do the laundry. Because ya’ll, it’s not only mama’s clothes piling up!
In my mind, laundry is a chore everyone needs to be a part of. It’s something each family member contributes to and despite its occasional complexities (What temperature should the water be? How much soap is too much soap? Does this go in the dryer?) learning how to do laundry is an important life lesson.
Rally the kids and train them to do laundry today! They can do it! And then, tomorrow, maybe they can train dad 🙂
Step #1 is to help your kids assess what is actually dirty. Because not every outfit that is worn belongs in the dirty clothes pile! Some items can be hung up or folded and worn again before being washed. Crazy concept, I know! As your kids gather laundry from their rooms, ask them to identify why each particular item belongs in the hamper. Did mac ‘n cheese spill on it? Are the knees stained with grass from recess? Is it underwear? Does it stink? If the answer is “yes,” into the hamper it goes!
2. Sort + Treat
We sort our laundry into four categories – darks, lights, reds, and towels/sheets. Kids love this part of laundry because they feel super smart creating giant color piles! In this phase we also use a stain treatment spray on anything that needs it so it has a little time to sit before making its way into the washer.
Next up is loading each pile into the washing machine and choosing the appropriate settings. By the time kids are reading, they can take ownership of this step since they can read the dial and set the correct load size, water temperature, and cycle setting.
4. Check + Dry
The next step is to transfer the wet laundry into the dryer. Here’s where some training comes into play. Ask your child to check each piece as they move it. They need to look for items that had stains – Did the stain come out? – and for items that don’t belong in the dryer – mom’s bra, sister’s swimsuit, etc. I tend to oversee this step for quite some time because once a stain is heat set there is no chance for its revival! My husband and I prefer to hang dry some of our pieces too so it’s just best that I save certain items from the dryer.
5. Fold + Put Away
Once that dryer beeps it’s time to fold AND put away. Honestly, I’m still training myself on this step. I want it to be that fluid – folding leads to putting away, not folding leads to sitting in a laundry basket of clean clothes for me to dig through for a week. But hey, there is always room for improvement… just because I’m training my kids on laundry, doesn’t mean I have nothing to learn!
It’s amazing to me what chores kids can take ownership up when given the responsibility. Once my 5 and 7 year old perfected emptying the dishwasher, I knew laundry was within their realm of success. And they’ve done fantastic learning the laundry ropes so far. Right now, we do it together, but soon I’ll work myself out of a job. And what a day that will be! Adios laundry!