Teaching Children the Basics of Laundry

Teaching a child how to do laundry is not difficult, but can be very rewarding for both parent and child. Laundry is a learning opportunity that can reinforce color recognition, sorting, manual dexterity, following directions and responsibility. Oh, and teaching a child how to do laundry also gets a household chore out of the way that no one likes to do.

The best way to start is by getting your child to help you sort clothes at an early age. Have your child identify the primary color in each item of clothing and to place similar colored clothes together in a pile. As the child gets better at this, have her create piles of lights, darks and whites, teaching her that lights are washed in warm water, darks in cold and whites in hot. You may wish to purchase a laundry basket with three compartments or use three different hampers if space allows, so that each water temperature has its own space. Ideally, each compartment or hamper should be hold about the same amount as a full load of laundry.

Once your child understands the connection between a clothing item and the correct water temperature, he is ready to start with the washing. If your hamper or compartment is the right size, then you can teach him that when it is full, it is time to do a load of laundry. Go through the hamper daily and remove any stained items that need spot treatment. Have a set measuring cup for detergent, or create pre-measured amounts of detergent in plastic cups with lids or plastic baggies. These cups or baggies can be reused for future portions, so instruct that they go into a space reserved for “empties.” These two steps make laundry foolproof and will ensure that only full loads are washed and the right amount of detergent is being used. This sets your child up for success and prevents a laundry room floor full of soapy water.

Create a chart with steps on using the machine, complete with pictures or drawings if your child is not old enough to be a solid reader. Tell which settings belong with which clothes and mark the setting on the machine with arrows drawn on tape. This may sound like overkill, but remember–what seems simple and commonplace to you is new and intimidating to a child. Being thorough with expectations will help your child succeed, raising their confidence and comfort level with the job.

Instruct your child to leave the clothes in the washer after she is done, since sorting which items should go in the dryer takes a little more skill and should wait until she is older and more experienced. Have some sort of sign or signal, put in a conspicuous place in the house, where she can indicate that she has done a load of laundry. This will prevent a wet washer full of musty clothes that has sat for days.

When your child completes a load of laundry, be sure to praise him. Do not nitpick or criticize-give any corrective advice in a positive and constructive way. This is a big deal to a child; he has done a “grown-up” job. It is a proud moment for him and encourages him to take on more household chores. He will feel like a valid and productive member

Source by Laura Bramble

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