Are you enjoying my monthly series on teaching life skills? Did you read the post I wrote last month about kids’ chores? One chore I look forward to handing over to my kids is laundry. I can’t wait for them to take over the task of doing their own laundry.
In my house, I start training them to do their own laundry at about age 11 or 12. My daughter, Emma, turned eleven over the summer and I spent a few weeks teaching her to do her own laundry. Now, she is responsible for doing it all on her own.
Kids Can Do Their Own Laundry
I actually start training my kids to help with the laundry long before they’re old enough to tackle the chore on their own. Each child has a laundry basket of their own where I teach them to put their dirty clothes each day. They are responsible for bringing their dirty clothes to the laundry room on laundry day. They help me sort the clothes and put them in the washing machine. They also help fold and put away their own clothes.
This, of course, is the beginning of the transition to doing it on their own. Leading up to Emma’s birthday, we talked about how she would be taking over the washing of her own laundry. I assigned her a laundry day. On that day, she’s responsible for washing, drying, folding, and putting away at least one full load of her own laundry. Often, she has to do two because that girl loves to change her clothes!
When the time came, I walked her through the laundry cycle several times before I was sure she was ready to do it on her own. Because of the earlier training, there were really only a few things I had left to teach her at this point.
I had to show her how much laundry soap she actually needed to put in the bottom of the washing machine. I reminded her to check the lint trap and put a dryer sheet in the dryer before she turned it on. I made sure she knew where the mesh laundry bags were for her ballet tights and undergarments – something I didn’t have to worry about with my boys.
The other thing I had to do with her was show her what settings she needed to use on the washing machine. Shortly before her birthday, our old washer broke down. My husband ordered the new washing machine, and when it arrived I was a little stumped. It’s one of those new high-efficiency washing machines. There are a ton of settings on it that I had to get used to. However, Emma only washes her stuff on one setting. If she has sweaters that need the delicate cycle or towels to wash on “hot,” I usually throw them in with my clothes.
So, I did a little laundry hack on the washing machine.
Every time one of the kids needed to do laundry, they would ask me what settings to use. I couldn’t remember everything on this new washer, though, so I had to get up and go look at it every time. I decided to make my life a little easier. I took some bright green sticker dots, and I placed them on the settings panel. She now knows to make sure that each dial is set to the green dot before she starts her loads of laundry.
Do your kids do their own laundry? If so, at what age did you make the transition?