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Teach Your Tween to do the Laundry

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Tweens need to learn how to be independent and one of the ways they do that is to take on responsibilities. Your child is old enough to help with family chores and daily duties. By doing so your child will learn independence and responsibility. He might also realize that learning new skills can be fun. If you think your child is ready to tackle laundry duties at your home, the tips below will help you teach him how.

Teach Your Child to do Laundry

  • Show Him: The first step to teaching your child how to do the laundry is to allow him or her to watch you do it for a while. He'll have questions and you'll be able to answer them while you're showing him the process. Remember, there are no stupid questions. If your child has never done laundry before he'll likely have questions about things you just take for granted.
  • Explain: Show your child the dials on the washing machine and the dryer. Explain the different settings, and why one setting might be better for certain fabrics or colors. For example, explain the difference between the "Delicates" setting and the setting for "Normal" loads. Be sure you also show your child how to use stain remover and when to apply it to clothes. Also, show your tween how to use fabric softener sheets.
  • Teach Him How to Sort: Even very young children can sort clothes for the laundry. Darks go with darks, and whites go with whites. Now that your child understands the different settings on the washing machine, he'll better understand how to sort the laundry before washing. Allow your child to sort and make sure that he's doing it correctly. Be sure he asks you any questions he might have about the process. Point out that it's a good idea to go through pockets, in order to prevent washing an item of clothing that might have money, tissues, gum, pens or other laundry hazards in them. A little prevention during the sorting cycle can prevent a clothes disaster.
  • Teach Him to Read Labels: When your child is sorting by color, he should also read clothing labels, in order to identify clothes that need to be hand washed or sent to the dry cleaner. Show your tween where to look for labels and make sure he knows where to put clothes that shouldn't end up in the washing machine. Designate a specific spot for these clothes, as well as clothes that need to be laundered under the delicate cycle.
  • Talk about Load Size and Water Temperature: Be sure your child understands the load size and water temperature options on the washing machine. You don't want your child wasting water or using hot water when cold or warm water will do. Also, review how much laundry detergent to use for small, medium and large loads. Many laundry detergents are now concentrated so a smaller amount will do. Be sure to explain that as well.
  • Explain How to Fold and Put Clothes Away: Putting clothes in the dryer is not the final step to doing laundry. Folding and putting those clothes away is the final step in completing the laundry chore. Tweens should know how to properly fold jeans and shirts, and when it's necessary to hang items on a hanger. Also, be sure to show your child how to match socks.
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