Getting Your Kids to Do Laundry

Education Geek Culture Technology


Doing clothes is one of those tasks that, in many families, it seems like one parent (often mom, though the ratio is changing) gets stuck with, and doesn’t get passed down to the kids’ responsibility until too late (if ever). There’s a long-standing joke about kids coming home from college to get their laundry done. I get the joke, but I always found it ridiculous, because I learned to do my laundry pretty young, and it seems like such an easy thing that it’s crazy some kids don’t know how to do it. I think that there are a lot of household jobs like this that if you start kids on young, they’ll pick up and get used to, and then they won’t end up being chores so much as things that they have to do to be able to manage their own lives (which is all we ever want to raise our kids to do, right?).

IMG_4369The best way is to start small – both with the kids and with the laundry. Perhaps you begin with getting them to help on a task like doing their bedding, which means each load is often a uniform material so that each load is exactly the same. Get them to strip their bed on a regular basis, and teach them the settings to use on your washer and dryer. Over a period of weeks, you can wean them of your support until they can do this one job by themselves. You could probably start kids as young as kindergarten or 1st grade on this task, since it requires following a small sequence of steps. Bonus points for getting them to make their beds again when the load is done.

Over time, it’s just a matter of adding new type of loads, like doing all their color-safe clothes each week in one cold load. Indeed, you can tie this into lessons on saving energy, since studies tell us these days that most of our laundry can be done in cold water.


As with most things, it’s about taking it slowly, and adding one new level of complexity at a time (in education, they call this ‘scaffolding’). But it seems pretty reasonable that if you start a kid on the path to doing their own laundry when they’re in elementary school, they’ll be masters of the craft by the time they’re in high school, and will never bring dirty laundry home from college, ever.

We’d like to throw a shout-out to our friends at Kenmore, who sponsored this post (thusly helping GeekDad continue to pay off our legal settlement, and bring great content to you). Kenmore’s new class-leading 5.3-cubic foot-capacity top-loading washers:

No one cleans better or has more capacity in its class. The Kenmore® top-load washer features an Exclusive Triple Action® Impeller that provides advanced motion for advanced performance. The impeller’s new and improved design cleans with three wash actions: nine spray jets that attack dirt from every angle with a deep-cleaning mix, wash basket action and impeller action. These wash actions work together to move clothes more for optimal performance and to deliver a high-efficiency clean. You will also enjoy quieter cleaning with the intuitive Direct Drive Motor that adapts to the size of each load to deliver just the power you need.

  • Accela Soak™ technology delivers a deep clean and reaches soils faster
  • SteamTreat™ option uses the penetrating power of steam to help wipe out tough stains
  • Fabric Softener Dispenser combines fabric softener with water and conveniently enters the wash basket at just the right time during the cycle
  • Capacitive Touch Controls deliver a quick response to your light touch and add a sleek appearance
  • Timed Oxi™ Dispenser helps boost cleaning power and makes it easier than ever to get whiter whites
  • Deep Fill option lets you add more water to your wash cycle, allowing you to control the water level in your washer

Kenmore is so sure of their washers that they’ve provided their machines to do on-site laundry for “Dirty Girl Mud Runs” all over the US this year:

So if you are in the market for a new washer or dryer, check out to learn more about their awesome new machines.

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