Getting Kids to do Laundry
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Tired of doing all of the laundry? You might be surprised how much your children are willing to help you do laundry.
With two kids in our house, we do a decent amount of laundry. Most people don't like to do laundry, although it's probably not the worst task you have to complete as an adult or parent - it's not really fun though. The repetitiveness of turning shirts, socks and pants the right way over and over can get old very quickly. It’s definitely time to get your kids in on the action.
Strategy #1: Just make them do it
At a certain age, your kids should simply be doing their own laundry. While every child is different, 11 to 12 is a good age range for most kids to be doing their own laundry without your help. You’ll obviously need to make sure they understand how the laundry machine works and which buttons to push, but beyond that, there’s no reason that you should continue to do their laundry forever.
Most importantly, this will teach them that not everything is just given to you - you actually have to work to take care of yourself. It will also help them to know how to do their own laundry on the day that they move out of the house. By continuing to do their laundry for a long time, you’re going to make it harder for your child later in life.
Strategy #2: Make it a game
We like to play a game with the laundry to see who can get the most clothes folded correctly, and put away the fastest. There’s no real prize for winning, outside of bragging rights, but just making it a game is enough for my oldest to actually want to help. You could certainly tie the win of this game to some type of reward as well, especially if you have a reward jar that you fill up for your child.
Strategy #3: Pay them to do it
While this strategy may work, you need to be careful with it. Once you start, it will be hard to break your child out of the habit of thinking they get something for doing the laundry. My oldest son is currently 6, about to turn 7. We’ll often pay him $.50/load of laundry. He’ll do it basically anytime that we let him. Sometimes, there is a lot more laundry than at other times. As long as we leave him to be by himself though, he’ll do it all.
At this point, it’s actually hard for us to not go this route as it has freed up a lot of our time. At some point (11 years), we’re going to break him out of getting paid, but he’ll also only be doing his own laundry at that point. Right now, he does his own and his younger brothers. He doesn’t put the laundry in the washing machine, but he does move it to the dryer and gets it out and folds it.
Regardless of how you get there, teaching your kids to do laundry is essential, and will help you to keep a little bit of your sanity in the long run.