As soon as your child is tall enough to reach the dials on the washer and dryer, it’s time to teach him how to do his own laundry. Learning to properly do laundry is an important life skill, and the younger he is when you start teaching him how to properly do laundry, the more prepared he’ll be when he finally strikes out on his own. While you may not want him washing your laundry while he is learning, if he can do his own laundry, it is one less task that you have to do.
Here’s some help with 10 tips to teach kids to do laundry.
- Let him watch: The first step in learning how to do laundry is observation. Helping to familiarize your child with what’s in the laundry room and where everything is kept is the key to a successful first lesson.
- Show him how to measure: This next step may seem like a small step, but it is important in the grand scheme of things. Teach your child how to properly measure detergent. If you don’t you could end up repeating the sudsy scene from an episode of I Love Lucy. That, or end up with clothes that aren’t getting clean.
- Talk about different sized loads: Show your child what constitutes a small, medium and large load of clothes. Let them know the maximum amount of clothes that should be in the washer so that they don’t overload it.
- Ask him to sort his laundry: Everyone sorts laundry differently, but a good rule of thumb is to sort darks, lights, and reds. Explain that orange, maroon, and pink also go into the red load.
- Draw a picture of the washer dials: To bring the dials down to where they can really see them, draw a quick sketch of the washer dials. Explain the different settings and when to use each setting. Let your child know how to stop and start a load if he has to.
- Walk him through a few wash cycles: Once the clothes are sorted, you can walk your child through a wash cycle. Show him how you load the clothes so that they are evenly distributed in the machine. An unbalanced machine is a crazy one. Show him where to put in the detergent and where the bleach or fabric softener goes, if you use them.
- Talk about the dials on the dryer: The dryer isn’t nearly as complicated as the washer. Show him the different temperatures on the dial, the buzzer and the different ways to dry clothes. One of the most important things to do when drying clothes is to make sure the lint trap is cleaned between every load.
- Talk about static: There are different methods for dealing with static. You can simply stick a bar in your dryer that you can use for months, or if you prefer, you can use dryer sheets.
- Explain wrinkles: Take your child from start to finish on a few loads of clothes and make it a point to discuss the importance of pulling the clothes out of the dryer promptly so that they don’t wrinkle.
- Encourage him to read the labels. Not all clothes should be washed the same. Some items may need to be hand washed and line dried, while other must be washed separately. Be sure to review the importance of reading labels and laundering the items as directed.