Several years ago, I taught the oldest to become a functioning, responsible member of society; to be a fabulous future husband and an exceptional roommate until that time. Would you like to know how you, too, can teach your son to become a beacon of citizenry? It’s simple. I taught him to do his own laundry. Here are six reasons why kids should learn this essential life skill.
Discover 6 reasons why kids should learn to do their own laundry #ihsnet #homeschool Click To Tweet
Reason #1: It Teaches Responsibility
My number one complaint in doing laundry is that no one is ever grateful that their laundry is done, but they sure like to complain when they “have nothing to wear.” It is always my responsibility to make sure everyone has clean clothes to wear, but I have a lot of other responsibilities. This one needs to be handed over to the younger generation. They need to learn the consequences of not washing their clothes. This may lead to some strange outfits, dirty clothes worn multiple days or naked kids, but it’s worth it to teach them the responsibility of washing their own clothes.
Reason #2: It Teaches How to Take Care of and Respect One’s Belongings
My second biggest complaint in doing laundry is finding clean clothes wadded up in the dirty laundry basket – sometimes still on the hanger. Now, let’s not get crazy and think that my kids voluntarily put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket. This is only accomplished after a threat to clean their room or all electronics will be confiscated. In their rush to gain access to the iPad, they will throw the clean laundry (that they threw on the bed instead of in the drawer) into the laundry basket. Presto, room is clean, and mom has hit near epic levels of laundry frustration. Teaching them to do their own laundry stops this bit of insanity. Ultimately, your kids will realize that laundry time is much simpler and quicker if they’re not rewashing clean clothes. This will eventually lead to respecting the rest of their belongings – eventually. Well, that’s my hope.
Reason #3: It Frees Up Mom Time
Let’s be honest. I don’t have time in my life to clean house, feed children, teach multiple grade levels and do laundry for five people. Giving up some of the responsibility frees a tiny bit of time in my schedule
to hide in my closet with a big jar of Nutella and a good book for some self-care.
Reason #4: It Teaches Something They are Going to Have to Know How to Do Eventually
The oldest is heading off to college next fall. He has a lot of new experiences and learning ahead of him. Taking “learning how to do laundry” off of the “essential life skills” checklist makes the transition to independent living a little easier. Now, if his baby sister could teach him how to boil water, he’ll be set. At least he can work a microwave.
Reason #5: It’s Pretty Simple
Teaching kids to do their own laundry used to be a much more challenging task. Nowadays washers and dryers have programming that looks quite similar to most electronics that your kids know how to work better than you do. The big “Play” button and the automatic sensing in most modern models take most of the guesswork out of the task. To make it even easier, I buy the Pods to use in the washer. No measuring, just toss and go.
Reason #6: It Creates a Sense of Pride and Independence
Creating a sense of pride and independence is the most important reason I teach my kids to do laundry in elementary school. My kids love being able to do “adult” jobs. It gives them a sense of pride. My son tells me that his friends are amazed that he knows how to run a washing machine. Once the kids realize that this is something that they can accomplish without an adult, they discover new things that are available for them to learn. They don’t have to be held back by “adult” jobs. They have the independence to do what they want without always having to ask for help. And, that’s pretty much my goal in parenting.
Free Printable Laundry Checklist for Kids
I created this printable for my own kids to use when doing their laundry. Subscribers are welcome to a free download. Just sign up below or if you are a current subscriber, you can find it in the Chocolate Closet.
How are you fostering independence in your kids? Link up with other homeschoolers to discover:
Hi, I’m Dachelle. I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 in the South. I love chocolate and have been known to hide it from my children. I can often be found reading a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book) and enjoying a jar of Nutella — don’t judge. I blog, here, at HideTheChocolate.com when I’m not creating book clubs and making lists…lots and lots of lists (it’s an addiction). Learn more…
Hi Dachelle! At what age can you start teaching your kids to do their own laundry? I’m worried that I might end up with a house full of naked kids!! Lol!
Hahaha! That is completely a risk! My youngest is 8. She has a harder time, so I still help her. She can wash and dry her clothes, but usually I just have her fold and put up. The other kids, 11 and up, do all their own laundry from washing to putting away. We’ve had a couple of shrunk shirts, but for the most part, they do a pretty good job. As far as naked, no one has left the house without clothes. Though, my son has gone to work in wet pants before. ? Live and learn.
I enjoyed your article. 🙂 When my children were younger, we bought a step stool to put in front of the washing machine so that they could reach the dials. We also drew an arrow on the washing machine with a sharpie marker to show how far to turn the dial. Having the kids do their own laundry from their own hamper was very helpful. It also made matching socks a lot easier! 🙂
Jen |Practical, By Default says
YES plus it saves time, prepares them for the world where (this mom) isn’t coming over to do your housework. Great job!
Oh, no! I am not doing their laundry in college, for sure! ??