We all have days where we feel as though the pile of laundry is ever-lasting. No matter how much we throw in the wash (and sometimes forget there… oops! It happens to the best of us!), and transfer into the dryer, the pile just seems to continue growing. As a parent, it may feel as though you are constantly in the laundry room trying to make it all work, yet to no avail. There are also long days when you come home from work and see the laundry that needs to be done and cannot seem to find the energy to get yourself started. Well, there is hope. You have little helpers! Bringing your kids into the mix when it comes to doing laundry is not only a way to relieve some of the pressure you feel both on your shoulders and metaphorically, but it is a fantastic way for your kids to gain some independence, all the while learning life-long skills. Every parent is different in their way of tackling laundry tasks with their children, but every parent should have some relief here in there, and what’s better than having no laundry to do, or delegating the task altogether?
At A.J.A. & MORE, we understand that it may feel like a mountain in itself to introduce your children to laundry tasks, especially when we consider all the dangerous aspects of doing laundry that we are well accustomed to but may not be able to teach our kids on time. So, we have prepared this guide to help you out when introducing your children to laundry tasks. Keep on reading to find out five ways to introduce and involve your children in doing laundry. This will make the ordeal of laundry an easy fix in your household!
1. Provide your child with their own laundry basket
Although it may seem like an obvious solution, you would be surprised at the number of parents who run around their children’s rooms trying to decipher what’s clean from what’s been worn. Of course, with young kids especially, we already know that the second our children wear something, it can be thrown right into the wash. So, make your life easier by providing them with their very own laundry basket, and slowly teach them to bring it to the laundry room when it is full. If you want to go a step further, provide two baskets: one for colours and one for whites, thereby also teaching them that not all textiles can be washed together.
In fact, did you know that a major aspect of children’s upbringing and socialization is done through what is called “role-playing”? Indeed, this is a sociological concept that has been created as a way to explain why children do what they do, which is to replicate their parents’ actions. For example, children may get accustomed to having dolls and pushing them around in a trolley, or may copy their parents’ actions by playing with fake tools. The same can be applied to laundry. By introducing children slowly to day-to-day tasks like these, you can start teaching concepts like having to do laundry from a young age. Of course, don’t expect your toddler to do full loads and fold their own clothes, but you get the jist.
2. Teach your child to check their pockets before laundering
We have all had a bad experience when it comes to forgetting things in our pockets. With children, however, and especially when there is so much laundry to be done, it can feel as though it is a never-ending ordeal that always somehow ends up with a few cents being left behind, or worse, wax crayons (say goodbye to those clothes!). An easy fix for this, and again a great way to teach your children responsibility while introducing them to the basics of laundry is to teach them to always empty their pockets before doing anything else. Damaging clothing is not only annoying and frustrating, but it can get extremely costly very quickly. Melted crayons in the dryer can mean, in the worst cases, that you will have to call an expert over to fix it as every batch of laundry that follows the culprit may end up looking just as bad as the initial one.
And guess what? We have the perfect accessory to help them do this, and one that will make it fun to learn! Our Pocket Treasure bin is a treasure holder that was made for that very reason. You can install one right against your washer or dryer as its strong magnets can hold on to anything, including a vibrating dryer (that is crayon-free!). Make this a fun experience for your kids by asking, for example, “Have you emptied your pockets of their treasures?”, and can continue the game by asking them to come retrieve their treasures once a week. There are endless possibilities to make this into a fun game rather than a boring laundry task. With this trick and the Pocket Treasure from A.J.A. & MORE you will be all set to have a clean laundry room free of clutter and treasures all over the floor and appliances.
3. Safety First – Remove the Lint!
In another article, we discussed the dangers of not removing lint from the lint holder. In the best cases, lint can simply make it difficult for your dryer to do its job well, but in the worst cases, it can in fact become a serious fire hazard. More lint means that your dryer is working twice as hard to produce the same effect, which also means requiring much more energy, which increases your electricity bill. This also means that it takes much longer for your laundry to dry up, and of course, no one wants laundry to last longer than it has to, right? Aside from this, lint has been shown to be a serious fire hazard, as explained, and if any lint falls behind the dryer and into the electric cables, the hazard is doubled. Therefore, teaching your kids to empty the lint tray is a great idea that can also teach them that safety always comes first.
Not only this, but with the A.J.A. & MORE Lint Bin, you can make this both into a fun game and an informative one. Children, as you know, pick up habits as they are very young. By providing them with a specific bin for lint, you are also simultaneously teaching them that certain things belong in certain places, and therefore that they should not let things hang around places where they don’t belong. Thus, it’s a 2-in-1 win for you!
Have you taken a look at all the fun activities you can do with your kids with the lint you collect in your A.J.A. & MORE Lint Bin? Check them out right here!
4. Make the sock-pairing nightmare a problem of the past
Although it may be nice for your children to have all kinds of different socks for different occasions, if you have more than one child, pairing the socks together can take quite some time. Of course, that is one way in itself to get your kids more involved in the laundry tasks of your household– giving them their socks and leaving it up to them to pair them together. However, you then risk the chance of them simply bundling them all up into one ball in the back of their closet (hey, some of us still do this, this is a judgement-free zone!). Instead, if you have different kids, why not focus on one colour of toes per kid? For example, buy white socks with different coloured-toes for each child. This can also be a fun task for your kids if you put all the socks on their bed and tell them to separate them accordingly. This is actually a Montessori-friendly activity, if this is something you are interested in!
5. When they are old enough, teach them to do laundry altogether.
The age at which doing laundry becomes appropriate for your child isn’t something that we can help you establish. While some kids will be ready to start learning from as young as eight, others may wait until they are older. And, as a parent, it is up to you to decide. If your kids’ clothing is all coloured, just teach them to throw it all in the washer at 30 degrees Celsius. Then, teach them to take the clothes out and throw them in the dryer. Just like that, done! Your kids are now able to do their own laundry.
Although it may be scary at first (or may feel like it’s too fast, too soon– how are they growing up so quickly?), it is also something that will take a lot of the stress off your shoulders. Don’t be afraid to teach your kids to help you out at first, it’s a good way for them to get ready to do it when they are off to fend for themselves later on.
Hopefully, these five tips have helped you out! Make sure to let us know your thoughts.