As fall approaches, complete with school schedules, team sports and a busy agenda for all the members of your household, chances are you are getting busier by the minute. A dynamic family is such a source of joy in life, and also a source of booked schedules replete with playdates, back to school nights, practices and games…and tons of laundry on top of it all! This fall, employ a few strategies to involve your whole family in your wash and dry cycles, spreading out the labor and valuable life lessons. With these family friendly tips, laundry will be fresh and folded with everyone doing a little, so no one has to do a lot.
Little people can be BIG helpers! The youngest of children have an innate desire to help with real life tasks. Laundry is a great venue for fostering this interest in contributing to their family and community with the added benefit of learning skills that will prepare them for school, and life. When you consider the different abilities involved in a simple load of laundry, start to finish, you begin to see an experience that promotes mathematical and physical skills, as well as language development, in your littlest household members.
Sorting clothing by a particular characteristic such as darks and lights, deciding how much makes a good-sized load, discussing empty vs. full and all the stages in between, fine-tuning their folding technique…this is fundamental, hands on learning, no flash cards required! Carolnursery.com encourages families to “involve children in doing simple chores when they are young and they will reap the benefits by learning about math, developing language and increasing their physical skills, both gross- and fine-motor. They will also develop an understanding that their help is needed and appreciated, that they are capable of doing “real work,” and that they can make important contributions to the family or classroom community.”
Keeping things playful can catch the interest of resistant worker bees…and it’s just good, clean fun, too! Sheknows.com suggests ramping up the fun factor by putting on some favorite tunes, transforming laundry sorting into a basketball game with everyone taking a shot at the basket and turning hand wash into a session of good, old waterplay! Keep things relevant for your tiny tots, too, by freshening up the things that matter to them, like doll clothes or their favorite blankets or lovies. Vaska detergent’s pure and gentle formulation makes it an ideal choice for safely introducing your child to the joys of soap bubbles and a laundry job well done. Vaska One laundry tablets make the job extra easy – no sticky mess, overuse, or toxic chemicals to worry about.
Have you noticed that as children grow, so does their desire for independence? Let them show you what a big kid they really are! As your children grow older and more accustomed to the basic skills of an accomplished laundry helper let them take on a few of the managerial tasks. From collecting their own laundry to folding it up and putting it away, kids are eager to feel trusted and responsible to take charge. With a few supervised lessons, you may be surprised how quickly you feel comfortable letting your child take a turn at the helm. This might be a great time to bring up how much children love buttons and dials! With some experience and explanation from you, your child might just be eager to know how operate that washer and dryer so that they can take on a little more responsibility and gain self-confidence in their abilities through a daily task like the laundry. There is a saying “each one, teach one” that speaks to having an older child show what they know to a younger member of their family. This not only introduces your youngest children to laundry tasks, it also cements the older child’s learning and encourages their abilities to lead, articulate ideas and guide others, all while spending quality time with a sibling. Who might our youngest teach? Teddy bears and dollies make great listeners!
As the time to leave the nest approaches, make sure your young adults are ready to keep it clean on their own turf. What parent isn’t concerned about their child venturing out into the greater world? Make sure your teen is ready to take on life away from home with confidence and in clean clothes! Encourage teens to take on complete responsibility for their own laundry, even throwing in some of the household linens as well. Reading laundry tags, determining what wash cycles to use and managing their time and schedule so those favorite jeans are ready to go for that special Saturday night out are all experiences that will have your not so little baby ready for life in the dorm, and the world at large. And who wouldn’t be proud to be the parent of the kid NOT in fades pink whites on their college campus? Start preparing now!
And last, but not least, in the case that you have a spouse who may have missed out on any of these valuable lessons…remember that it is never too late to learn!
Whoever said you can only chat over a cup of coffee or glass of wine? Why not fold laundry together and enjoy the moment to connect at the end of a long day?