Let me tell you something right now. Moms, you should not be doing all the laundry yourself.
Your children need to help with the laundry. They should be helping.
There’s a couple things to remember with the never-ending task of laundry:
1) Laundry is something that every single person in the family adds to, no matter how big or small. Even the tiniest member of the family contributes what is often the most mess and amount of things that need to be washed!
2) There’s many steps to doing a load of laundry. Enough steps that every single member of the family (short of a baby) can and should help out. Even small toddlers.
Think about everything you do with laundry. First, you have to bring the clothes to the washer, which might include rounding up scattered clothes on the floor or gathering towels, etc. Then you have to run a load in the washing machine, dry the clothes in the dryer or hang them up, then fold or hang things, and lastly put them away.
That’s quite a few ways for your kids to help with the laundry.
A couple years ago, I was fed up with my kids not caring about putting clean clothes away properly. That and the vast quantity of everything I had to wash each week with six people in our family. And most of all, I was tired of doing it all by myself.
Oh sure, I’d have a child carry a basket downstairs for me, throw a load into the dryer, or fold some towels, but I didn’t have anyone consistently helping me.
Until I finally made some changes.
I taught my older two – Emily and Nathan, who were 7 and 11 at the time – to wash their own clothes. I told them I was giving them a huge privilege and would teach them to use my washing machine. They were quite impressed and excited. (Insert my evil laugh. But it did work!)
My younger children, Joshua and Luke, helped too. Even Luke, who was 3 then, could help pull clothes from the dryer into a basket. He was thrilled to help Mommy. And Joshua would gather clothes and load the washing machine and even put wet clothes into the dryer.
Now, as I shared in my Laundry Routine and Schedule post recently, each person in my family has a day of the week where they do their laundry.
Nathan and Emily are each responsible for bringing their clothes into the laundry room the night before their laundry day. (School mornings are usually hectic enough.) I wash and dry their clothes and when they come home from school, they fold and put away their clothes. Everything is done in one day.
Joshua and Luke (who are 6 and 5) share a laundry day (and also a room) and they too bring their clothes downstairs the night before. The next morning, Luke puts the clothes into the washing machine and later transfers everything to the dryer. After school, the boys separate, fold, and put away their clothes (you can read more about that HERE).
Emily often helps me fold and put away towels, washcloths, and cleaning rags in exchange for an extra chore stick. Even my husband helps by bringing his basket of clothes into the laundry room and later folding and putting his things away.
I never want to go back to doing it all myself.
And you shouldn’t do it all either.
Here’s the thing: it’s not just about the fact that Mom shouldn’t have to do it all herself. When you get your kids involved with doing laundry – or any chores around the house – it teaches responsibility and also gives them a sense of accomplishment in doing something important that’s helping out the family.
On top of all that, laundry is a simple, yet important life skill that everyone should know how to do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a friend complain to me that her husband doesn’t know how to do laundry or some other household chore. Whenever I hear that, it strengthens my resolve to not do that to my children’s future spouses.
So yes, your kids should help with the laundry regularly, not just once in a while. If they’re not already, you can start today!