3 Reasons to Get Your Kids Involved with the Laundry
Wait, WHAT? Should my kids help with the laundry? Do they really need to help around the house? In my house? YES, they do need to. Laundry is a great way for kids to contribute and help the family unit.
“Dirty means you had fun.” I’ve said it for years, I’ve meant it for years (I’ve written about fun stuff for kids to get dirty), but now that my kids are old enough to help out more around the house? I do still mean it, but I’m changing my saying to “dirty means you had fun, now help clean the dirt!” Listen, when you have a kid playing soccer 2-3 days a week for practice and games who also plays outside at recess and home and falls or slides to get the ball hourly, you’ll understand that the dirty might be worth it but it’s more work for whoever’s doing laundry.
3 Reasons to Get Your Kids Involved with the Laundry
- It’s a life skill. Everyone has laundry!
- It’s a great way for kids to contribute to the family unit at almost any age.
- Teaches responsibility, how to care for clothes, and about resources.Laundry is my nemesis. Unless the whole family walks around the house naked, and doesn’t sleep in their sheets, there is ALWAYS more to be done. That’s for any one person, but when you live with 2 adults, one who often works outdoors, plus three active kids who do gymnastics, cross country, basketball and soccer, well, the laundry piles up. (We won’t even *go* down the tween wardrobe changes and clean stuff going back into the laundry baskets, that’s probably a post all on its own!). The piles grow on their own, I swear it, and if we miss a day or two? Oh my word. Mount Laundry appears in the laundry room. Or their bedrooms. Or both. Laundry never really goes away, and it’s a time consuming and costly thing to have to contend with. Given that kids generate laundry and live in the house, I don’t see a reason why most every kid can’t help to tackle the laundry in the house.
Photo below: we had a gymnastics meet in the morning and 2 soccer games in the afternoon plus a pickup from a later meet that one of the girls helped at yesterday, so I got behind on laundry. I decided to leave this photo as is. This is real life- and this is what happens when we miss a day or two.
I don’t really make big New Year’s resolutions. I sometimes try…but like most of the folks who make them, they don’t last. I can’t say it was a discussed, decided upon resolution to get the kids to help around the house more, but it’s definitely become a focus of ours to have all of us contribute to keeping the house running smoothly. My husband and I both feel that it’s important for our kids to help out around the house, and do things for the family. At 12, 10 and 8, our kids are all able to help clean the chicken coop, change the cat litter boxes (and know to clean their hands well afterwards). Each is able to make their own bed and while not perfect, all three are finally able to help with the laundry.
Our 12 year old can operate the washer and dryer on her own, and while she prefers using prepackaged laundry care products, she’s able to correctly add both detergent and fabric softener to the washing machine in the correct amounts to the correct drawers. The 10 year old is learning, and the 8 year old will in a few years. They’ve all been helping to fold, sort or put laundry away since they were toddlers– yes, I am serious. Kitchen towels and bathroom hand towels and washcloths are EASY for kids to fold and it gives them a sense of contributing to the family, as well as pride in being able to complete a task. As they get older, we teach them to fold other shapes and sizes of stuff in the laundry.
This helping with the laundry concept has been a huge thing, as none enjoy the process and realize that it takes time and energy to wash, dry, fold, sort and put away our family laundry. When the warmer months arrive, we use a clothesline and all three of my kids know how to properly hang things to dry on it. Right now, we’re in dryer mode, because while things WILL dry on the line in winter, I enjoy having some time indoors and not having numb extremities so we cut wayyyy back on the use of the line in colder months.
We’ve made sure to explain how the dryer works, why we use different temperatures for different fabrics, and have repeated ad nauseam the importance of cleaning the lint trap before each load is dried. The kids know that doing laundry costs money- the appliances themselves, the products we use to clean our clothes and take care of them, the electricity to run the loads, the water to wash, the gas to get to the store to pick up laundry products, or for it to be delivered to the house. They understand now that each load costs money, so we need to be aware of putting things that aren’t soiled into the wash. Helping with the laundry process from start to finish has been very eye opening for the kids- they now realize that we can’t “just wash” something “real fast” in 30 minutes before school, and have it clean and ready to go.
Having the kids take an active role in laundry has decreased my workload around the house (since I stay home/work from home, this is generally my domain) but it’s also given a whole lot TO my family. My kids are learning important life skills. They’re learning about what happens when you wash things in different temperatures, how important using something to collect static can be in the dryer, especially in the winter with dry air and heat. They are learning about what a washer and dryer are, what they do, and how to operate them safely and efficiently. They’re learning about resources, using and saving them, planning ahead (adding detergent, softener or dryer sheets to the list when they notice things are low), and about how to do their sibling’s laundry without freaking out about touching someone’s underwear.
Resolutions are generally goals that we make for ourselves that – if you’re like most moms – probably involve some degree of getting organized, or spending more quality time with the family. But what if in 2018, we get the whole family in on the process?! What if we all say hey, kids, you make the dirty laundry (most of it) and live here, so how about you chip in and help out a bit? When we all work together to get things done, we have more time for family togetherness!
This is the year to take back your laundry room and teach your kids some age-appropriate responsibility to lighten the load on yourself…you have the reasons why, and now you can also get them started and teach them how to maximize your family dollars by taking advantage of Tide HE 100 oz. Liquid being on Rollback at Walmart for $10.77 (regularly $11.97)!
Having worked together as a team to tackle mount laundry means we got it all done quicker, and were able to sit down and play a game together as a family with that saved time. With the money we save by shopping smart at Walmart, we can use some of those savings to buy new games to play, or have family adventures. And that, my friends is the awesome “side benefit” to getting the kids to help with the laundry. Saved time for the grownups means more fun time for all!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tide at Walmart. The opinions and text are all mine.