Where do I start teaching our laundry system to the kids?

When you are ready for the children to learn the system of your laundry You have to start with the basics. What's your laundry system? You have one!Everyone has a slightly different laundry system. In most families it falls to one person to push through the days or weeks laundry. Whether you have a large family or not children can learn how to do laundry. It’s just a system.

Being able to do your own laundry is an anticipated family rite of passage.  Children love the responsibility of it and if you take your time with it you’ll find it is a good transition for your family.

Each child will be able to wash that favourite item and look after that sports kits just a little better when they are looking after it.

It’s a system that slowly over time everyone can learn. This is how you prepare.


As with all systems we don’t just hand over expensive washers and driers to button pressing dial twirling children. Neither do we have to sit and lecture or show them Target fliers of how much a new washer costs. To feel confident with tackling laundry the children have to take part and observe and we need to share what we are doing and the why so there is a gradual understanding and eventually hand off.

As soon as possible invite the kids to help you while the laundry is being done so they see the family way.  We all do laundry very differently and they won’t just magically be able to do all the steps taken. Get them involved.  Not sure how: Try using some of the ideas in this Laundry system printable.

When you are shopping let them get the detergent that’s preferred and share why you prefer quality to cheap or bulk tabs to liquid bottles.   You have a system and a reason for your environmentally friendly detergent or homemade version. It’s not a secret.

Not sure how: Try using some of these prompts in the Laundry system printable.

If they are putting the shopping away let them know where the detergent lives and the extra box and all the extras you have with laundry like stain remover, bleach and any extra add ons.

When is the magical age?

There isn’t a magical age when children should do their own laundry. Sorry to disappoint. In our family once you were nine you could almost do everything just about. It was never perfect but after a fashion done. That’s the thing about life skills it is a progress and not about tell once and then perfection.

My eight year old has just learnt the final step of laundry and now we’re in that wobbly stage as he is learning to go through the cycle himself. As the youngest he wants to be just like his brothers and they are amazed at how little he knows.


The school aged years is the perfect time to work on this messy bit called progress. They will stumble and blunder about and eventually they will make it. We must give it time and space to develop and although have high expectations allow room for failure and success. Success is always sweeter when you’ve persevered and finally reached by yourself.

Like all life skills this isn’t a set it and forget it system. As the children gain in confidence and maturity they learn new parts and add these on seemlessly to what they are already doing. There will be times when you step back down because it didn’t work or isn’t working at the moment.

The benefit of slower family living is the ability to take your time to develop these types of systems and adjust to the personalities in the house.

Things children should experience with laundry- hopefully once.

It’s not to say we should engineer these events to happen but learning these early will save a lot of heart ache later.

  • Leaving clothes in the washing machine without the door ajar and what you have to do next
  • Running out of an item of clothing and what you have to do next in the time you have.
  • One of the tops or shirts shrink
  • Leaving the laundry to cool and crease and what you have to do next
  • What happens when you don’t separate a red top and a white undershirt and do a wash.

When you are ready for the children to learn the system of your laundry You have to start with the basics painlessly. What's your laundry system? You have one!What to do now?

  1. Download the crib sheets and prompts on starting your laundry system
  2. Don’t make any announcements about a new laundry system
  3. Start asking the questions and setting your family up for success with the ideas for each age/stage
  4. Consider your family and adjust to your location ( altitude, humidity, heat, wind or wet, costs) and feel comfortable talking about these in an age appropriate way.
  5. Share your experiences and questions
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