Teaching Kids to do Laundry – (Laundry Day Lesson Plan)

Thanks to Discount Cleaning Products for sponsoring June’s posts in this series!

I shared earlier this week that I’m in survival mode.  It’s VBS week combined with get-ready-to-fly-across-the-country-with-three-kids week.

Waaaahhhhhh!!!!

So, since I don’t have any progress to report, I’ll share my Laundry Day Lesson Plan from Teaching Kids to Clean, my new e-book that’s free right now!

Laundry Day Lesson Plan

Step One: Gather and Sort

We sort all of our dirty clothes into piles in the hallway outside our laundry room.  When first teaching my children to sort laundry, I started the piles so that the kids only had to match the remaining clothes to their proper pile.

Until you see that your kids can do this on their own, it’s a good idea to work alongside them and be there to answer the inevitable questions about which colors qualify as darks.

Step Two: Wash and Dry

This is the most important step for Mama to supervise.  You are one thousand-ba-jillion times more likely to notice the red sock that has attached itself to the pile of whites.  You know which items should not go in the dryer and you know where and how to hang them to dry.

Some things require judgment calls, and the ability to make a judgment call comes from experience.  You have the experience, and you’re working hard to help your children gain that same experience so they’ll be prepared to make judgment calls one day.

While I fully trust my kids to sort clothes because they have two years of experience, I’ll be eagle-eye-watching the actual washing and drying process this summer.

Perhaps next summer I’ll be able to lie in bed and eat ice-cream all day on Laundry Day . . .

Perhaps.

Step Three: Fold and Put Away

Folding and putting away is a great group project.  Our schedule some days dictates that we pile the clean laundry on the couch and have an end-of-day folding session.  I’m always amazed at how quickly we can flatten Laundry Mountain when we tackle it as a group.

I’ve found it best, though, to fold and put away each load as it comes out of the dryer.  One child can be assigned the task of emptying the contents of the dryer into a laundry basket, one can move the clean-but-wet clothes from the washer to the dryer, and another can load the washing machine with another load of dirty clothes.

This system causes some traffic jams in the laundry room, but works well for us since it means everyone has a job to jump up and do each time the dryer’s buzzer goes off.  For some families, it might work better to have a rotation, letting one person do all of those tasks.

Folding together is key.  This allows you to teach folding tricks, help your children learn which items are hung vs. folded, and be sure the right clothes get into the right drawers.

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I’ve found that my kids do best when I give each child a small stack of clothes that all get put away together in one place.  For example, they run a stack of ONLY UNDIES to their room to put them directly in the UNDIE DRAWER.  This helps (though there are no guarantees) it to be more likely there won’t be t-shirts in the sock drawer and vice-versa.

I’d love to live vicariously and  hear about your progress for the week!!

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Comments

  1. well, I haven’t even started laundry. I am secretly trying to see if the clothes can pile all the way to the ceiling from the hamper.
    anyway, thanks to your site, I have been a crazy woman cleaning all week while kids have been at camps.
    The kitchen is a totally different place now. You are right, it does feel better when the stuff isn’t piled high and the floor is clear of debris.

    so, thank you for your encouragement, sharing this part of you that is sometimes hard to share honestly. It has really spurred me on to get my act in gear and clean the clutter and mess. thank you!

  2. My son is just now old enough to start doing his laundry. Well, he was probably old enough before now, but I didn’t feel like hearing him whine about it.

    What a HUGE relief it is when your kids can take care of their own clothes. Suddenly, my time spent doing laundry is a tiny fraction of what it used to be, AND he finally understands why it’s important to put folded clothes away immediately or it’s all a waste of time.

  3. I spent years dealling with laundry mountain when my kids were babies. I could not figure it out. As my kids have grown up so have I, this is what works for me: My kids’ laundry day is Friday (my personal laundry day is Monday and Sheets and towels are on Sunday). My kids only have enough uniforms for one week, so on Friday they come home, change their clothes and bring down their dirty clothes. (they have mesh-type hampers from Ikea, very light, easy to handle, and only holds about a week’s worth of laundry anyway) My kids can put their own laundry into the washer but are too short to reach the stacking dryer – to save hassle I usually take over once they bring their clothes. ( like to check for stains, inside out socks and pants and suspicious absence of underwear etc.- no- I don’t sort, it’s one load per child even if it’s a small load, it save hassle to just hand back the hamper with the one child’s clothes- I don’t separate colors- I just don’t buy white clothes, ever.
    My kids dont fold clothes. They hang up everything except undies, tights, and socks (those go into open top bins from Target. We use those plastic kid sized tubular hangers from walmart. Shorts and skirts get clipped to special hangers. Shirts and pants go on regular hangers. If it’s an outfit, the pants go on the same hanger with the matching shirt. My kids put their own clothes away independently they have been doing so since about the end of kindergarten. After they are done putting away clothes they get TV time (no clothes put away, no friday night movie it’s quite a motivator for everyone- I want them to be done so I don’t get pestered about TV, they help each other since they don’t watch TV until everyone is done)- they also get paid $1 each, on the spot, for their good *attitude* and cooperation- any whining and NO money (they are allowed a first warning and, if needed, a second warning spaced about 20 seconds apart, if they continue to whine about it- no money and possibly no TV but that has never happened)- they are motivated to get the money because we sometimes go to a frozen yogurt bar (the kind where you put your own toppings oen) which they get to pay for with their own money, no money, no yogurt. I try to check to see what they have done, I praise and thank them I make a big deal about paying them and helping them count their money. I ignore most mistakes I see and straighten up later if I ever think about it. It’s a win-win system with dessert and movies at the end, totally the lackluster way!

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