Why Your Kids Should Do Laundry (and How to Teach Them)
From sweaty socks to food-stained t-shirts, from bed sheets to bath mats, there's always something that can be washed (or folded or ironed). One way to lighten the work load? Recruit your kids to take a turn doing the laundry.
Four reasons why kids should help do laundry
- One day (you hope), kids will move out—go to college, get a job. When they move out, their laundry (you hope) will go with them. They'll need to understand this mundane yet necessary chore.
- Laundry is something that everyone in the household contributes to, no matter their age or hobbies. Everyone wears clothes and dirties towels and sheets.
- Shared household tasks equal shared work which equal stronger family bonds. Plus, along the way, you might just teach them the value of responsibility and finishing small things.
- Laundry is the perfect task to break down for nearly any age. If you can walk and talk you can probably help with laundry.
Age-appropriate ideas for kids and laundry
- Young toddlers: Help them put dirty clothes in their own laundry basket, or in a shared family laundry basket in a bathroom.
- Preschool-age children (up to age 5): More dexterous kids can help you take clothes out of the dryer, and can also play a matching game with socks.
- Young elementary-age kids: Carrying dirty clothes to the laundry room is easy for many of these school-age kids. They may also be able to fold very simple items such as t-shirts, or put away some of their own clothes.
- Older elementary-age kids: As kids get older they can learn the rules of sorting laundry. There should be more items that they're able to fold, such as shorts and pants, as well as put their clothes away. They can also help to gather sheets and towels to be washed.
- Middle and high school-age kids: If you build a good foundation, older kids should be able to handle the laundry from start to finish. Ironing is also a skill to teach at this age; start small and build up to more complicated items. High school kids can also be taught how to sew on missing buttons or fix small tears in clothing.