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Teaching Your Children to do Laundry

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Another important experience in parenting should be teaching your children how to do laundry. I am such a believer in family time, with dinners, game night, family trips and now I have learned yet another family activity, laundry 101. I guess I just assumed that my children would learn how to do laundry by osmosis, or something. They brought their clothes to the laundry room, and also knew how to fold their own clothes, but the process in between was a mystery to them. Each one of my children has called home at some point and said, “Mom, do I separate whites and colored clothes?” I missed the boat; they should have known this before they left home. One of those missed opportunities in parenting.

So, tonight we had laundry 101 at my house, they were not ready for 301, they just wanted the abbreviated course. What fun to have your children gathered together with all of their dirty clothes, and begin learning how to separate the white clothes from the colored clothes (at times I would have thought they were color blind). Next, how to set the washing machine for the appropriate water temperature, and then the cycle selection and the size of the load, always large for them! I was in tears laughing as they argued about which towels should be washed together, could you wash underwear with t-shirts, and how much detergent, the more is better rule does not apply here.

Don’t miss the opportunity for a fun evening together and as a bonus the laundry is finished. They really did a great job with folding, but tomorrow is an ironing lesson. I guess I need to talk to them about burns as well as spray starch. I should have done this long ago, but it is never too late. I don’t see myself in the laundry room ever again. There are many household activities that our children need to know how to do on their own. Start earlier rather than later. Toddlers love to help, but somewhere during the tweens and teens they lose interest in the mundane. Take advantage of another opportunity to spend time with your kids. It is the best!

That’s your daily dose; we’ll talk again soon.

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