When is the right time to teach kids how to do laundry?
In our opinion…right away! Sure, a two-year-old isn’t going to be folding bath towels anytime soon, but there are still laundry chores that they can ‘help’ you with!
As your kids get bigger, you’ll be able to teach more. Once they’re four or five, perhaps they can start learning how to fold their own laundry. At age 8, have them start sorting their own laundry. By age 14, they could be washing all their own clothes!
Sound a little unrealistic? Not in our experience. If it’s always clear that you view your kids as people who can take on responsibilities and learn important life skills, you’re far more likely to see your kids rise to the occasion.
Even aside from the benefits for your kids, think about the benefits for YOU. Do you want to be the sole laundress for your household for the next 20 years? Nope. And you don’t need to be!
Age-Appropriate Laundry Chores for Kids
Here are some guidelines for approximate ages and laundry related chores you can assign your little ones as they get bigger.
Ages 2-4: Kids this age often love doing what their parents do, so use it to your advantage! Have your kids help you match socks or colors with you. Maybe they can sort their own clothing out of the pile of big clothes. Show them how to put clothes away. Encourage them to put their dirty clothes in a laundry hamper.
Ages 4-6: Start teaching your kids how to put their own clothes away. Teach them how to fold simple items, like socks and underwear, or how to hang shirts. Have them help you fold easy items, like kitchen towels and dishcloths.
Ages 6-8: Put kids in charge of folding laundry. You’ll need to teach them your way (whatever that might be) for folding each type of garment. You’ll also need to teach them what clothes aren’t folded at all but instead hung up.
Ages 8-10: Put your kids in charge of getting their laundry hampers from their rooms into the laundry room. Teach them how to read garment care labels, and explain why and how to sort their laundry into the correct hampers. You’ll still want to double-check their sorting abilities, but this is a great age to learn.
Ages 10-14: Have your kids begin doing their laundry, start to finish. (You’ll still want to supervise for a while.) Explain how to use the washing machine and dryer and what all the various settings mean. Teach them how to check pockets for left behind items and remind them to always check clothing for stains before laundering. You’ll also want to train them on how to manage load size. Now is also a great time to explain to them how to choose which detergent to use, and why.
Put them in charge of washing their own bedding. Put general household laundry duty on their chores lists. Do you need to be the only one washing bathroom towels? We don’t think so!
Ages 14+: They’re practically laundry pros, now, right? By this time, your kids should know enough about how to do laundry that they can cope with most of it on their own. This is also the age where many kids start to care more about their appearance and, consequently, their clothing. Help them take responsibility for what they wear by teaching them how to treat stains, hand wash delicates, and launder more expensive garments.
Ironing required? Teach your teen how to do it!
Tips to Teaching Kids How to Do Laundry
We’ve got some extra tricks for making it easy to get your kids involved in laundry day. (That usually seems like every day, doesn’t it?)
- Make your laundry room child-friendly. Get rid of any harsh or caustic laundry products. You don’t need them anyway. Choose plant and earth-based detergents that are safe for your kids, and safe for the planet! A step stool will also be helpful for little legs.
- Get sorting bins for lights, colors, and darks. If your child can’t read yet, put a sticker on each bin so they know which is which.
- Install closet rods low enough so kids can reach them to put away their own clothes.
- Label dresser drawers pictures so children who are too young to read can still put their clothes away easily.
Want More Info on How to Get Kids Involved in Household Chores?
Check out this article for more advice on what cleaning products are safe for kids, and creative ideas to get them involved (without threats or shouting!). Our team is made up of parents and awesome, everyday people, just like you.
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