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Let's Do Laundry

mother and daughter folding laundry

Heather Weston

Do you feel like you're in the laundry room 24/7? Yeah, we do too. Make it fun by getting your child to help you sort, wash, and fold. Kids ages 5 and up are ready to give you a hand with simpler jobs, but before you turn your child loose have a quick chat about sorting. Explain that lights go together and are usually washed in warm water. Dark clothes and colors are usually washed in cold, and only totally white things can be bleached -- but that's something only Mom and Dad do. Your child can check pockets for change or tissues and close up zippers. A younger kid can sort by color, add dryer sheets, match socks, and clean out dryer lint -- which she'll probably get a big kick out of. Teach your child to fold by starting with easy shapes like towels and washcloths. Older kids can pour in the detergent, fold all types of clothes, and put laundry away. You'll conquer that mountain of dirty clothes, spend time together, and teach your child a super-useful life skill.

Use this print-and-save list of ideas for you and your helper.

  • Have her round up all those doll clothes so she can wash them. Put them in a pillowcase to protect them in the washer.
  • Show her how to hand-wash delicate items in a big sinkful of soapy water.
  • Decorate your child's hamper together and she'll be excited to toss in her dirty clothes.
  • Wash dirty stuffed animals in the bath. (Toss 'em into the dryer to dry -- but don't use heat if there are any plastic parts.)
  • If it's warm enough, go old-school and hang clothes up to dry outside in the sunshine.
  • Play the laundry game: Have her toss clothes into the hamper from a few feet away.
  • Use fabric scraps and ribbon to make yummy-smelling potpourri sachets for your kid's closet.



Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the April 2008 issue of Parents magazine.