Ten Reasons to Have Your Kids Do Their Own Laundry
1. They feel a sense of responsibility. This leads to positive feelings of control and independence.
2. They learn gratitude and appreciation. When children take on household responsibilities they’re more likely to feel a sense of gratitude towards you and others who care for them because they begin to grasp that things don’t just magically get done around the house.
3. They take more ownership of their belongings. They know what they own, what’s clean, what’s dirty, where it was put away, etc.
4. Takes a load (no pun intended) off of you. You have plenty of other things that need taking care of. A family is a team and your child can be a contributing member of this team.
5. When something isn’t washed, it’s not your problem, but rather theirs. This helps keep the parent-child relationship in tact and prevents the child from blaming you for something they need that isn’t ready.
6. They learn to manage a project: they watch as their laundry basket gets full and their drawers become less full, they have to begin to judge when it needs cleaning, and then they have to go through the process of washing, drying, folding, and putting it all away.
7. If they’re doing their own laundry, they will likely feel like they can take on other household and self-care responsibilities. If they’re not seeking this out on their own, but they’re doing their own laundry, you’ll at least know they’re capable of more.
8. The level of responsibility and the project management skills they’re gaining from doing their own laundry will likely carry over into their schoolwork and other areas of life where independence is needed.
9. They learn life skills. They’ll confidently know how to do this when they’re off on their own – no need for them to dump a laundry basket full of clothes for you to do. The reality is, the transition to living on their own, whether it’s a college dorm or an apartment, is a big enough transition. If they already know how to do some of these independent living skills, they will be more confident as they move through this transition, and therefore, more successful with the transition.
10. They’re capable of it. Never do anything for a child he or she can do for himself or herself.
If you’re wondering what age children are ready for certain personal care and household responsibilities, check out Your Family Compass. Appendix I outlines this based on the child’s developmental level from ages 1.5 - 15 years. For many of these household responsibilities you’ll want to gradually build upon these skills. For example, at 2 years old your child can start to help you sort socks. At 2.5 they can carry the laundry basket from their bedroom to the laundry room and help load it into the wash. At 3 years old they can begin to fold hand and dish towels. At 4 years old they can begin to fold underwear, socks, pants, and some shirts. At 5 and 6 years old they can continue to build on these skills along with putting their laundry away. At 7 years old they can begin to start the wash with help and switch the laundry with help. At 8 years old, they’re likely ready to begin using the machine more on their own and can determine when they’re clothes are ready to be washed. By 9 years old they are likely ready to fulfill the whole process on their own from start to finish.