Teach kids to do laundry with the following age-appropriate laundry chores so that they have all the necessary laundry skills far before the time they leave home.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tide at Walmart. The opinions and text are all mine.
I have a large family. There will soon be seven of us. Seven bodies dirtying up clothes every single day. Some of them multiples times (thank you potty training, spit up, and diaper blowouts!).
*RELATED: 4 Easy Ways to Remove Baby Poop Stains
Even smaller families seem to complain about the mounds of laundry they have to wash every single week. It’s exhausting and frustrating for sure, even when implementing our laundry system where we’ve figured out how to do laundry fast (yet kinda lazy) and only 3 days or less a week.
Which is why I have always had my children take part in the laundry process. Okay, maybe not when they were babies, but always as age-appropriate chores.
I often feel like I’m more strict about teaching kids to do laundry at younger ages than most of my friends. But, I see no reason my children shouldn’t be helping me do their laundry, especially as we homeschool and they have plenty of free time to help out around here. Plus, they cause most of the laundry anyway.
But, that’s not the only reason I make them learn to do laundry.
While I don’t find doing laundry particularly challenging or complicated, I’ll admit it isn’t fun. And I don’t love doing it week after week. But, I also know it has to be done and it’s easier when it’s managed regularly rather than ignored.
I don’t want to raise children who are overwhelmed with such an easy, mundane, yet necessary task! You can never stop doing laundry. It’s one of those necessary parts of life like bathing and grooming or eating or taking out the trash. It has to be done. Regularly.
My mother never really taught me how to do laundry. She never explained the process, nor required me to wash, dry, or fold my own laundry all 18 years I lived at home. I was simply required to take my laundry basket full of clean and nicely folded clothes up from the basement to my bedroom and put it away. I was also required to make sure my dirty laundry ended up in the pile she picked up dirty laundry from.
That was it.
When I went to college, I didn’t really have the know-how about how to remove certain stains, what temperatures were best for certain clothes, the importance of separating clothes by color or fabric, and so on.
And keep in mind that my mother was doing loads and loads of laundry and could have easily delegated the laundry chores to her children. There were nine of us kids!
My mother did a great job cleaning and washing and folding our clothes, don’t get me wrong. She was a pretty awesome laundress (she even worked doing laundry, including having to use starch, for a French lady in town who ran cooking classes from her home). But, in my opinion, she shouldn’t have had to do it all herself.
But, as kids go, I had no desire to step up where it wasn’t asked for me to step up. I didn’t volunteer my services in this area of the home. In part because I didn’t know how and didn’t want to screw it up, and also because I was a kid.
I love my mother and everything she slaved and did for her own large family. But, I intend to do some of these things differently now that I’m the parent, starting with giving my kids age-appropriate chores.
I firmly believe that children should have chores, starting at a young age and acquiring more, and more difficult chores as they grow up. But I’m on the fence about whether or not you should you pay your kids for doing chores.
I see teaching kids basic life skills as one of my primary functions as a parent and know of no better way to do so than by doling out chores and household responsibilities.
I also believe that handing out these chores and responsibilities at young ages teaches them early on that taking care of a household and all of its endless and mundane tasks really aren’t that a big deal, but are just one of the simple parts of life, yet very important to complete (especially before having fun).
Giving kids chores helps them build up gratitude and appreciation for what we as parents do, for the things they already own, and more. It also teaches kids to work hard and keep our house cleaner.
I could go on and on, but let’s get back to the topic at hand – the laundry.
Kids produce a lot of laundry. Sometimes more than is actually dirty. They touch something once, or a shirt gets a little wet, and they throw on the floor and put on something else. Or they think that they have to wear new pajamas every night and put the previous night’s laundry in the laundry hamper. Or instead of hanging up their bath towels they just throw them into the hamper.
Lots of laundry from these little people. And babies have their own reasons for producing lots of laundry. I have twins, so I doubly understand the amount of baby laundry you can have!
Laundry Kids Chores by Age
Here’s what I recommend as age-appropriate laundry chores. Keep in mind my oldest (twins) are only seven, so I’m not 100% sure when we’ll teach the next laundry skills to them or give them even more laundry responsibilities. But, I do have an understanding of what still needs to happen before they leave the nest. Feel free to adjust as you see fit.
Laundry Chores for Babies and Toddlers
Before the age of three, I wouldn’t consider what babies and toddler do as “chores” but more of a learning and training period.
Teach your babies and toddlers simple things like how to dress and undress themselves (or make it easier for you to dress and undress them), where to put their dirty clothes, where to put their shoes, and so on.
For laundry skills, they need to be more aware of what NOT to do, like do not climb into the washer or dryer, do not eat laundry pods or dryer sheets, do not tip over laundry baskets (especially if they are in it), and do not open the liquid laundry detergent. Also, do not mess with mom’s nicely folded laundry piles and throw clean laundry all over the house, or empty their drawers.
As far as helpful laundry skills, toddlers can begin to do simple things like put laundry in hampers, put a few folded items in their drawers, or pull out laundry from the baskets to give to you to fold.
Again, before three years of age, these shouldn’t be expected to be completed regularly by your child! Take this time to teach some basic laundry safety first and foremost.
Laundry Kids Chores for 3-4 Year-Olds
As part of the regular chores for three-year-olds, your kids can start being a bigger part of laundry days. Again, you will have to be patient and really work with your kids to teach them how to do the following laundry tasks correctly, and without too much complaining.
They will likely need a LOT of help and motivation to complete these laundry chores. These chores are not intended to be done independently by your child, even after they’ve learned the appropriate skills. I’ve found it works best to work beside your child folding your own laundry as they work on folding theirs.
Making laundry time enjoyable with music or making it into a race or a laundry game for kids is also helpful. You can also try putting on an audiobook as you work.
However, I have found TV shows do not work great for having your kids work faster, despite how they may help you pass the time as you fold and sort laundry.
The following are laundry skills most three-year-olds and four-year-olds can learn to do:
- Fold washcloths, hand towels, and bath towels correctly.
- Make neat piles of underwear and shirts to be hung up.
- Pair and roll socks together.
- Turn clothes right-side out.
- Fold bottoms and skirts and put into a neat pile.
- Put folded pants, socks, and panties in appropriate drawers.
- Put hangers into shirts.
- Button up shirts.
Remember, they are still little and need lots of praise and encouragement for figuring things out and doing these tasks. Sometimes rewards or other incentives are appropriate to give out for jobs well done.
Laundry Kids Chores for 5-7 Year-Olds
As your kids turn five and above, many of the previous laundry tasks can start to be done independently and given out as a regular chore, needing to be completed before other fun things in the day. They should have had plenty of practice now doing those things. But, know they will still need lots of praise, encouragement, and thanks for their hard work.
Here are additional laundry skills and chores most five-year-olds to seven-year-olds can complete:
- Bring laundry baskets downstairs or to the laundry area on wash days.
- Add dirty clothes to the washing machine (without wrapping them around the spinner).
- Clean out the lint trap in the drawer and put it back in place.
- Take clothes out of the dryer and put into baskets.
- Move wet clothes from the washing machine to the dryer.
- Fold and put away their own clothes by themselves.
- Hang shirts in their closet.
- Organize dresser drawers.
Laundry Kids Chores for 8-10 Year-Olds
Now, fair warning: I do not have kids who have reached the age of eight years old yet. But, given what I know about my children and children in the next few age ranges, I am doing my best to add in what I believe are the next steps for acquiring laundry skills and independence.
Additional laundry skills and chores most eight-year-olds to ten-year-olds can do:
- Add appropriate amount of laundry detergent and clothes to the washer.
- Set the washer and dryer to appropriate wash and heat settings and turn on.
- Add dryer sheets (or dryer balls).
- Learn how to pre-treat common stains (make sure to grab my laundry stain cheat sheet to help them!).
- Separate lights and dark clothing appropriately.
When you begin teaching your kids to put in the laundry detergent, it’s important to talk about the different laundry detergent available as well as how to shop for detergents and other laundry additives. Right now Tide HE 100 oz. Liquid at Walmart is on a Rollback for only $10.77, down from $11.97. Plus, you can print off a $2 brandSAVER coupon available beginning 12/31 for a final price of only $8.77 or less than 9 cents per ounce!
You can find the brandSAVER coupon online at pgeveryday.com. The coupon is only available for in-store purchases through 1/13/18.
Laundry Kids Chores for ages 11-13
This preteen age doesn’t sound particularly fun to parent, but it’s a great age to start giving them more autonomy and knowledge. They seem to want that anyway.
Laundry chores most preteens can do:
- Take over their own laundry start to finish.
- Iron clothes (without burning themselves, the house, or their clothes) as needed. (Supervision still required)
Laundry Kids Chores for ages 14-18
When your kids turn into teenagers, they’ll still be responsible for all of the above laundry chores and responsibilities. But, there are a few more things that will be helpful for them to learn about before they learn your home!
Laundry Skills Teenagers Need to Learn:
- Where to take dry clean only items.
- How to use a laundromat.
- How to pre-treat and remove tough stains.
- How to use starch (optional).
- How to fold fitted sheets correctly.
- How often they need to wash things like towels, sheets, and bedding (and to start washing these themselves).
I believe those teaching kids to do laundry is an important skill for them to learn while still at home. I hope these age-appropriate laundry kids chore guides give you a starting point for what to teach your children and when to give them more responsibility. Kids can totally rise up to the expectations we have of them, and eventually stop complaining (too much) about having to do their own laundry.
Let me know if I missed an important laundry skill or detail that kids should learn!