When it comes to questions like, "Is my child old enough to _____________?" it's often a judgment call. At times, it seems like it would be nice to have a guide or a chart that says exactly what kids should be learning how to do at any given moment, but as parents, we know it just doesn't work like that. You're the only one who can decide if your child is old enough to stay home alone, run an errand down the block, cross the street by themselves, or do their own laundry.
But these are great things to be considering, and we wholeheartedly encourage you to be thinking about them. It's part of our mission here at Let Grow. It can be tough, though. As parents, we often get into a routine of doing things for our kids. In part, it's our natural instinct to nurture and help out. It's also just habit. When they're babies and toddlers, we fix their food, do their laundry, and help them in so many ways. Then as they get older, we forget they're becoming more self-reliant and capable on their own. I've fallen into this trap myself.
Moms, it's time to unite. Let's make our kids do their own laundry!
A couple of years ago, I realized I had become the laundry fairy, doing all the laundry all the time. Now my kids did help fold (let's be honest, this only happened sometimes) and put clothes away (often requiring a few reminders). But it was pretty much me carrying the full load (pun intended). I realized I'd been suckered. These kids, ages 11 and 13, were completely capable of doing their own laundry. Why was I doing it all?
Don't worry. This story is short and has a happy ending. Now my kids do all their own laundry without ever being asked. It's funny how running out of clothes or forgetting to wash your sports jersey will motivate you to get your laundry done.
If you're wondering, "Can I get my child do to laundry?" I would encourage you to find a way. Even this article from Today suggests kids can do laundry at 8 years old. Yes, they can figure out how to sort, how much detergent to use, how to operate big appliances, and even how to fold and put away. We as the adults might have to take a step back and be okay with them "not doing it the way we would," but what a great learning opportunity.
While we're at it, let's not just teach kids how to do laundry at home, let's also make sure they know how to hit up a laundromat as well. This is a must-learn skill for anyone, and no one shouldn't be intimidated by it.
Learning how to do laundry at the laundromat.
For this, we decided to put together a video in our new Let Grow Life Skills series. Our kid teacher is Patrick, and he goes over the step-by-step instructions for how to do laundry at a laundromat. From getting change and what supplies to bring to how to work the washing machine and dryer, he really does a great job breaking down the process. Thanks for the lesson, Patrick!
By the way, if you have a life skills you want to share, we want to hear about it. Write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to us on Facebook. Maybe you or your child can be in an upcoming video.