Parents begin to do everything for their children and it is easy to forget that at some point those children have to learn to do it for themselves. If we ever expect them to become responsible adults, children need to learn how to put the washing machine on. It's even better if they learn to do it when they are young and can practice and help you now, long before they have to do it themselves.
Step 1. Start teaching her when she is still little
Most 5-year-olds with a stool can get by with a top-loading washer. Ask them to help you with each of the steps and explain why you do each thing. You will learn the process little by little. A 7-8 year old should already be able to complete this "training" in a couple of months and run the washing machine with little or no supervision. Tweens may fear that you are giving them that responsibility. Some teenagers who are not very capable of doing laundry might be more reluctant to agree to participate in this, but it may also be the case of some who really enjoy the freedom of taking care of their own clothes (and avoiding dad pouting when they do. a thong in the laundry basket.
Step 2. Prepare a “laundry room” that is kid-friendly
Look at the bottom for the "Things You'll Need" list. Organize your cleaning supplies where children can reach them, but where they are out of the reach of little ones.
Step 3. Teach him to sort laundry
Ask him to help you sort white clothes, colors, dark clothes, bedding, towels, etc. As you do so, explain the different colors and types of clothes in which you separate the clothes to wash with different temperatures or additional products that help the clothes be better washed. Most likely, you will have to repeat these instructions many times before they make sense to your child. Over time, teach him these additional grooming skills:
- Check your pockets in case you have left something forgotten in them
- Read the care label on some unfamiliar clothing items before washing them.
- Flip shirts that are printed (such as T-shirts) to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on the print.
- Recognize when we have enough to put a load in the washing machine, not too much and not too little.
- Recognize those garments that should not be put into the washing machine, such as those that should go to the dry cleaner or be washed by hand.
Step 4. Teach him to use the washing machine
Show him all the controls and explain how they work. Washing machines can be complex, but most people use only a few of the functions on a regular basis, so start with the easy, a normal wash cycle. Have the child press the buttons and turn the controls on the washing machine. You will be very proud of yourself for being able to operate a machine like the washing machine. Over time, teach her the following tasks related to the washing machine:
- When, where and how to put detergent and dirty clothes.
- Make sure the load is balanced on both sides of the washing machine.
- When to use cold, warm or hot water
- How to use a stain remover stick or pre-wash agent.
- When, where, and how to use fabric softener in a washing machine.
- How to clean the door or detergent drawer each time you use the washing machine to remove any residue or product spillage.
Step 5. Teach him how to tumble dry
Show your child where the lint container is, and how to check and clean it before they start putting wet clothes in the dryer tank. Curiously, this is one of the tasks that children like the most. Then teach him to take the clothes out of the washing machine, little by little, and place them in the dryer, but not before shaking them to spread them if they are a little twisted due to the washing and spinning process. This can be a lot of exercise for younger children who will have to get on and off the sidewalk. Over time, you should also teach him to:
- Examine the washed clothes and know which clothes should not be put into the dryer.
- Which drying cycles to use for different types of laundry.
- The correct direction to turn the knobs (could save you a $ 60 bill if they get damaged).
Step 6. Teach them to wash clothes by hand
You must tell them:
- How much water should you put either in a bucket, in the bathtub, or wherever you are going to wash.
- How to add detergent
- How to scrub to remove stains
- How to remove excess water from hand washed garments. (the hardest part).
Step 7. Teach him to hang or arrange clothes to dry
An accordion-type clothesline, or a folding one, is a great tool for younger children who are not tall enough to hang their clothes on the strings. Teach them how to reshape them and how to arrange sweaters and other types of garments that should be air dried in such a way that the air reaches them everywhere and they dry faster.
Step 8. Teach her to fold and lay out clothes when they are clean and dry
Do it with him / her and later teach him to:
- Matching and folding the socks
- Putting on clothes
- Fold shirts, sweaters, and pants so they don't wrinkle.
- Hang up dresses, blouses, dress shirts, and dress pants.
- Fold towels and bedding
- Even if your toddler thinks he can do it on his own, be a silent observer for at least a couple of weeks. There will inevitably be situations that you have forgotten to mention, and you will be happy to have the opportunity to show him those loose ends.
- When hand washing, give him rubber gloves to protect his hands.
- Schedule chores so doing laundry has minimal impact on your life. Load the washing machine and put it to wash before going to school (5 minutes). By the time you get home, your clothes are ready to be put in the dryer. (5 min). After an hour, you can come back, fold, and lay out your clothes (15 min). Total time <30 minutes.
- If your child is feeling overwhelmed by this process, allow him to participate only at the end of the process and hold him accountable for the last step. Then work the process backwards adding one step at a time until you are done doing the whole process.
- No matter how well you teach it, accidents can happen. It could be that a sweater ends up shrinking to a doll size because your 10-year-old daughter forgot to check before putting it in the dryer. It could also happen that red socks sneak in with the white ones and they will all end up with a soft pink color. It may be better, for your peace of mind, to watch especially if there are valuable clothes, or dry cleaning.
- Some children will want to start a collection of the fluff they take out of the dryer. Good luck in your talk to convince him not to.
- Also, don't expect a child to go up or down the stairs with a basket full of clothes. Even tweens can have a problem with this, as can adults. It is better that you risk falling down the stairs than having to hear when your child tells the emergency room staff when he has fallen and has broken his leg: “My mother made me carry this basket full of clothes down stairs"
- Don't depend on your children to always do your laundry. Although it may seem very nice to not have to put a washing machine again, sooner or later they will notice that you no longer do it, so better share the task with them.
- Don't insist too much on older children or teenagers to help you with the laundry. Sit down and talk to them, explain why you are doing it (it's your job to teach them, and their job to help make the house work better since they live there). If you listen to their concerns and explain yours, most teens, at least those who can be reasoned with, will at least agree to learn this all-important skill in life, even if they end up not helping you much.