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Teach Your Child How to Do Laundry

Teaching your child to do laundry is a worthwhile process. Involving kids in the everyday care of the home and of belongings teaches responsibility, builds self-esteem, and lightens the load for Mom and Dad.

The art and science of caring for clothes is not learned in one day. Having several years to teach your child the geometry, the chemistry and the satisfaction of getting clothes ready to wear again is a good thing. Because we all wear clothes, everyone in the family needs to know how to do laundry!


Preschoolers love chores and household tasks. Just watch a toddler with a mop! Getting your child to love doing the wash will be easy. In fact, you may need to deal with their over-eagerness!

A good place to start is with letting your child dispose of worn or soiled garments by placing them in a hamper or basket. Make sure lids are provided, but will not come crashing down on little fingers or heads. Be careful also around the laundry chute if you have one. Provide each child with their own container.

Children love to watch you add the detergent and other additives. Make sure they know this is not their job yet. Close the lid tightly and when finished your little one can “help Eload the dryer or hang the wash. Let them know that handing you clothes pins is a big help! When clothes are dry, use folding time to name shapes- rectangles, squares- and let them attempt washcloths and towels. Have your little one help put his or her clothes away. They will learn organization and order by putting things where they go.

Main points to address:

  • Capitalize on your preschooler’s willingness to help.
  • Start simply and remember to be safe.
  • Provide your child with a basket or hamper of their own.
  • Teaching times can be fun times. Use praise and thanks.

Grades K-3rd

Young school children can begin to do more. In addition to placing soiled clothes in their own basket or hamper, kids this age can bring their clothes to the laundry area when it’s time to wash them. They are old enough to sort by color, so if separate containers are provided, they can sort clothes into the right piles.

School age children love to measure and pour. If supervised, they can measure out the detergent and even set the controls. Care still needs to be taken with laundry chemicals and with lids of washing machines. Children of this age are tall enough to get hurt by agitators, so make sure lids are down tight.

Kids of this age can begin to fold their own clothes as well as towels and washcloths. Perfection is not the goal. Self-reliance and pride in a job completed is. Pointing out the symmetry of a well-folded piece might be enough to encourage careful folding.

Children can also begin to care for the laundry area by emptying the wastebasket and wiping down the machines with a damp cloth. Knowing they are performing a very necessary task builds self-confidence!

Main points to address:

  • Children of this age still need to be supervised.
  • With help, they can complete the job from start to finish.
  • Setting a “laundry day Eor schedule will help children develop discipline and a sense of accomplishment.

Grades 4-6th

Older children can begin to do their own laundry with some assistance. After sorting, clothes can be washed and dried, then folded and put away in drawers or hung up. Children involved in sports or dance can begin to be responsible for their own uniforms.

Kids aged 9-12 can begin doing simple mending with a needle and thread. With supervision they can replace missing buttons. Knowing that most clothes can be repaired and “handed-down Eteaches children to value and care for their clothes and to think of the needs of others.

Keeping a chore chart can help your child plan and prioritize their time. Knowing that doing their laundry is as important as doing homework or playing with a friend will increase the likelihood that the good habits you’ve helped them to develop will carry over into adulthood.

Main points to address:

  • Older kids can begin to do their own clothes on a regular basis.
  • Teach them simple mending.
  • Hand down gently worn clothes to someone who needs them.
  • Use a chore chart to help your child develop regular habits.

Resources that can help you in your venture include:

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