Laundry is never ending. That’s one reason why it feels so overwhelming. It doesn’t matter if you wash, fold and put away ten loads. There will always be more to do. Have no fear–I have a couple of ideas for how to get kids to help with the laundry so it won’t feel overwhelming.
I’ve invested a little time and energy into doing one thing that has helped my children become more responsible with the laundry all while taking some of the work off of me. With just a little adaptation for each child, this method will work for kids of all ages and abilities.
It’s called delegation.
Simple but profoundly true. They won’t know how to do it unless you teach them. Take the time to invest in teaching your children tasks that can be delegated based on their individual abilities. Give them a chance to do it themselves and resist the temptation to do it yourself.
We all know that the folding and putting the laundry away is what takes the most time and effort. Here’s a simple way to delegate that task to your children (so you can take a load off!)
First, make clothes storage is accessible for your kids. Make sure your child can reach the drawers or areas where their clothes are stored. You may have to take some time to re-organize closets and drawers to accommodate your kids. This may take a little work on the front end but trust me, it will pay off later!
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Next, use the basket system. As I’m folding the laundry, I get a basket for each child and load it up with their folded clean clothes. I have the child take the basket to their room and show them step-by-step where everything goes and how to put it away. The next time, I have the child put the clothes away while I watch and give help if needed. Eventually I wean off helping and let them do it on their own.
Give room for grace. They won’t do the laundry as well as you do, so resist the temptation to do it yourself. You’ve had years of experience at doing this while they haven’t, so give them opportunites to practice. As they get more chances to practice, they’ll get better.
Add responsibility as time goes on. Eventually you can teach your child to fold the laundry as well as putting it away. Take a basket for each child and load each one with a couple of clean items. Have the child take the basket to their room and go with them. Sit down and teach them how to fold a shirt, pants and socks. This task will take more time for kids to get used to, so be patient. The first time you do this, start with just 5 items they can fold and put away. Then you can add more as they get the hang of it.
As time goes on, slowly give a little bit more of the job to the kids until they can do laundry all by themselves. Give them the tools to do the job themselves and you’ll be thanking yourself!
Other easy ways to get kids to help with the laundry:
- teach them how to sort the dirty clothes (whites/colors)
- show them how to load the washing machine
- ask them to help pour the laundry soap and or fabric softener into the washing machine (my kids love to help with this step!)
- teach them how to determine what clothes can be dried in the dryer and what items need to be hung to air dry
- have them join you while loading the clothes in the dryer
Remember – they’re capable of doing more than you think! You just have to take a little time to show them and give them a chance! (I’m telling that to myself, too!)
Do you have any tips that helped you teach your kids how help with the laundry? If so I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment below and share your secrets!