Thursday, June 28, 2012

On teaching children to do laundry

Recently, my oldest child, Cephas, decided it was high time that he learned how to do laundry. I have to admit, I didn't argue or try to dissuade him in the least. He's 11 and absolutely capable of doing laundry from start to finish. I made sure that he knew how much soap to use and reminded him to double check the clothes before putting them in the washer to make sure he didn't get something mixed in to the load that didn't belong. He knows how to run the washer and how to switch laundry over and run the dryer. He also knows how to fold laundry. So, I let him loose and he did six loads. Mostly it was his and Koren's laundry and bedding that he did. Koren also helped him. To be extra helpful, they threw in some random pieces of everyone else's laundry. They sorted, washed, dried and folded. They had a huge amount of laundry in baskets on Cephas's bed. And then things got busy here.

It was a couple of days before I had gotten back in to their room to deal with the laundry (yes, I needed to "fix" a few things. I'm particular about folding and I don't ever put anything away inside out, small details that the boys overlook and they had also folded a number of items that normally are on hangers, which I figured they knew since they know where to go to get the items, but regardless...) and guess what I found?

The clothes weren't dried. Or at least not completely. Oy! So I have had the pleasure today of re-washing every single item. I let the boys know (gently - I don't want to deter them from wanting to do laundry) and they were so sad that they had created extra work instead of less work for me.

I have decided that from now on, I will do the laundry and each child will have opportunity to help me until I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are capable of doing the work. With Cephas, he just needs to be more observant about the dryness of clothes coming out of the dryer. Koren needs additional training in that area as well, but also needs to learn how much detergent to use, as well as which setting to use for both wash and dry. Oralee and Jeriah need to learn all of it yet, except for the sorting. They are pretty good at that already. And all of them need to learn how to fold clothes Mom's way and which items get put on hangers and which get folded and placed in drawers.

I think I am going to make a laundry cheat sheet for the kids and put it somewhere near the washer and dryer. That should make it easier for everyone (Hubby included).

Finishing up the laundry and putting it away is our plan for tomorrow, along with their regular chores. I will post tomorrow about our chore system that had been working beautifully for the last month and a half. I think that is probably the longest a chore system has worked for us (to the level of effectiveness that those one has). I'm excited to share it with you. It works really well with our ADHD child as well as our Asperger's child. Which in my opinion, makes it a winner!