Teach Your Kids To Do Laundry (Even Before They Can Read!)

Lately when visitors to our home have noticed our chore charts on the wall, many have been surprised to see “wash laundry” and “fold laundry” listed on my boys’ charts. That’s right. My 6 & 5 year olds are in charge of their own laundry, and the younger one isn’t yet a reader. 🙂 It is possible! When I added laundry to their lists several weeks ago, I was optimistic, but still had doubts that it would actually work. I have not been disappointed!

So how does it work?

My husband has said for a long time he wanted our kids to do laundry when they were old enough, but I was terrified of my “lay flat to dry” items ending up three sizes smaller from a trip through the dryer. To avoid that, I decided the boys would just do their own for now, especially since only one of them can read.

First, I got one laundry basket for their room, and assigned them each a day – Monday and Thursday. My boys are about the same size and share pretty much all of their clothes. This made the chore a bit easier. I also have a front load washer and dryer set. That definitely makes the process more doable for kids.

Next, I drew stars on the washing machine to show them the correct settings. Yes, it’s that simple. Little black stars beside each setting show the boys which buttons to push whether or not they can read it and make remembering each time a non-issue.
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I rinsed out an old stain remover bottle, marked it for them, and filled it with laundry detergent. I did this because I use larger bottles which are too heavy for them to pour.

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Then I just gathered the boys in the bathroom, and showed them how to do it. Of course the first couple of weeks, I walked them through the steps each time and helped them remember which opening to pour the detergent in, how much to use, etc. They caught on quickly though!

After washing and drying each load, they are also expected to fold and put it all away. For items that belong in their brother’s drawers, they fold them and lay them on his bed.

And that’s it! Now I only have to occasionally remind them to switch their load if they aren’t around to hear the washing machine end, and make sure they do put it away, not leave it in the basket in the living room for 2 days. But who would do that?? 😉

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Filed under children, cleaning, organization, raising boys

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