Kids doing the laundry

Can you get kids doing the laundry?

When I moved house and the children were a bit older 7 and 9 I figured, this would be a great opportunity to create some new habits (chores) for the kids in this new house. It would clearly have nothing to do with me being a strict parent or anything, as the rule was simply a change because of the new house.

It has been amazing to implement the kids did not complain ones and we’ve been doing this for weeks, their cupboards look neat. They proudly told me the other day that they had finished their daily folding within 4 minutes.

Overall, I found that having kids doing the laundry (at least their own folding) teaches them great life skills as well as reduces the pressure on mum.

Preparing for the kids to take over their laundry

I spend a little time preparing before I set it up, introduced a bit of training when we started and then my little ones were off folding and hanging their clothes independently. 

This is what I did:

Kids doing the laundry - Colour coordinated baskets

I gave them both two laundry baskets, one for their dirty clothes which was placed in the bathroom. And one for their clean but unfolded clothes which was kept in the laundry until there were clean clothes to be folded. 

They would fold, then bring their empty basket back to their bathroom, changing it with their basket of dirty clothes and place this in the laundry for the adults in the house to wash and dry the clothes. 

It is a simple rotating system, which is also what I suggest on the laundry page (for adults). The baskets are in their color which means I can simply sort all the dry clothes place their clothes in their basket and hand them their folding. It is not too much, especially if I get them to do a little each day / every second day, which means the job doesn’t become overwhelming.

Kids doing the laundry

what do the adults do?

This is up to the adults of the house but we do the washing and drying for them whilst the kids do the folding. Sometimes they bring their clean laundry upstairs to their room, sometime the adults do it. My son likes to see how the washing machine works and therefor helps put the detergent on and start a wash cycle. My daughter noticed the other day that it started raining and quickly took the washing of the outside line. (Yes these are the times I think my kids are amazing )

Normally I remind the kids that their laundry is to be folded, it is normally placed on their bed, often I suggest either a race, seeing who can fold fastest or I get them to fold prior to receiving a reward, this can be play time or a cup of hot chocolate. 

Just like adults, it is important that there is a positive association to completing a job
(play time, hot chocolate! – works for me).

Training

I did spend some time training the kids on how things should be folded, where they should go in their wardrobe, what needed to be hung of a hanger or placed in a basket. For example: t-shirts are folded, socks are rolled, undies are placed in a small box (too much trouble to fold these) and shirts or dresses are placed on hangers. It is an easy system which they can remember or visually check in their wardrobe.

I also encouraged them to do their folding on their (neatly made) beds as this gives them a nice place to work and is next to their wardrobes.

Kids doing the laundry – what I provided?

I started with the color coordinated baskets, giving them in essence a sense of owners ship of their green / blue basket and its content.

I made sure all their clothing had a clear spot in their wardrobe. Their wardrobe was basically an empty shell so before giving them this job I had to put cube storage boxes together and place their clothes in an organized fashion in their cupboards. Once the set up was done they only had to follow this, overtime this will become an habit or an easy to follow routines

Above in the photo, you can see the cubes which we placed in their wardrobes. The top is for sport school uniform, then shirts, pants, a basket for undies and more to the bottom are the less frequent items. (This will also help with seasonal clothes, having shorts or long pants either up or down depending on the weather). I also have a few canvas storage boxes which are used for things that are harder to organize neatly like swimmers and pajamas. The boxes still give the items a neat organized place but the actually work is minimal, they only have to throw their swimmers in.

Kids doing the laundry – Rewards

If you set the system up in a positive way it will hopefully be a task that already has several positives attached to it (aka the feeling of completion and / or a simple reward). You can also give them a token or some pocket money, especially if they have done a very good job. 

The aim is to have them become more responsible people, capable of looking after their own possessions.

However, as it goes with parenting, only time will tell, in the meantime this really works for me and the munchkins.

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