We are about six weeks into our laundry re-vamp, and things are going well.
To be 100% honest, we have had some roadblocks. A traveling weekend here and an activity-filled weekend there forced the laundry job to fall on my shoulders for two consecutive weeks, since I am home eating bon-bons all day. Ha!
But aside from that, the kids have pretty much taken over the laundry job.
Friends have asked for my secret:
- They handle the whole laundry, from start to finish? What do you do–pay them a million bucks?
- What I wouldn’t do to have this job shared by my family and not rest on my lap—I hate laundry.
- There’s no way my kids would do laundry. How do I even begin?
After thinking about it, I realized that getting kids to do laundry isn’t top-secret material. It’s just a few things we’re doing to make laundry more enticing. More approachable. More kid-friendly.
Like a lot of what we try over here, it’s about setting our kids up for success. Because really? Don’t we all want to do things well?
And it’s also about consistency, follow-through, and support. Three things that are really, really hard for busy families. But we’re trying.
The bottom line is that if our family can have kids doing laundry, any family can do it.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- Kids Doing Laundry–3 Secrets to Success: Granted, like most of parenting, getting kids to do laundry–and like it!–is a work in progress.
Each day is different.
But for the most part, these are our three secrets to success.
1. Give them jobs.
Give your kids specific, clear, manageable jobs.
We have our Wash Warrior poster up on the wall in our laundry room so the kids can reference it at any time, and it helps.
The Wash Warrior, Super-Fly Dry Guy, and Put ‘Em Away Triple Play jobs each have distinct components with step-by-step directions. That way, there’s no question.
And if they hit a roadblock–a stain!– the Stain Fighter information is right there, too.
Bottom line is that though the jobs are outlined and info right there, they know that they can call for help (me!) at any point in the process. We’ve made the laundry job light, fun, and not at all scary for them.
2. Get techy.
Adding a bit o’ tech to the mix has helped make this job more kid-friendly as well.
Whirlpool’s Wash Squad app seriously rocks. And it only takes a minute to learn. It allows kids to sign in, get their job assignments, and then earn points when they’ve finished their job.
For some kids this might not work because they respond better to #2–the personal celebrations of success and an actual hug, high-five, or shout-out. But for other kids who thrive on earning points and who enjoy playing with numbers, and getting their handds on the iPad, this tech piece is huge.
Again, it’s what works best for your family.
3. Celebrate success.
Celebrate success if someone totally rocks one load from start to finish–solo–then we really make a big deal of it.
Doing laundry isn’t the quickest job in the world, so it does take time and patience. And Maddy, Owen, and Cora are still little. They need to listen for the buzzers, be aware of the movement from washer to dryer and from dryer to basket and from basket to bedrooms.
So we celebrate in the ways that work for our family:
- Maybe I’ll throw a few extra gems in a jar for a job well done or a load carefully folded;
- Owen loves his tech time, so I often give him an extra Screen Time Card;
- The Special Plate still works for our family, so occasionally someone who takes the lead on laundry may get the Special Plate for dinner.
- a shout-out at mealtime;
- an extra scoop of ice-cream for dessert;
- a big hug from Mom or Dad when they return from work;
- a ‘freebie’ tv show;
- an extra book at bedtime;
- . . . whatever works for your family.
For my family, all three of these ideas work together as our ‘secret sauce’. Each of my kids are so different, that these three pieces seem to work for them all.
And? Because kids are kids and every day is different, what works one day may not work the next. So having me consistently on the sidelines seems to help tremendously.
It’s a win-win. Not only are the kids doing the laundry and helping our family, but they’re also learning a life skill. And maybe when they get to college, they’ll be the stars of their hall because they’ll know how to do laundry from start to finish and can save their pals’ shirts from nasty stains. We shall see!
How does your family manage the laundry? Do the kids help? Run the show? Do tell! We would LOVE to know!
also part of this Wash Warrior series:
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fyi: This is a sponsored post, written as part of the Whirlpool Ambassador program. As always, opinions and ideas are my own, influenced only by my experience as an educator and parent and my three little wash warriors.