Encouraging Self-Sufficiency: Teaching my 7-year-old to do Laundry

Before my children move out of the house, there are a wide variety of skills that I want them to master.  Basic self-care, home care (HERE and HERE), basic repair skills, cooking, financial literacy, and many other things along these lines.  One of these skills is doing laundry.


My 7-year-old, who has watched me do laundry from the time I wore him as a newborn, recently expressed an interest in doing the laundry himself.  Of course, I was happy to oblige.  I walked him through the process a few times.  We discussed how to set the dials, how much soap to add, how to work the dryer and verify the lint is cleaned out, and so on.


The other day, he told me that he was ready to take care of all of the laundry by himself.  And he did it.  Well, he needed my help getting our full laundry basket down the stairs.  Other than that, he took care of everything on his own. ::grin::


This may not work well for you if you’re really particular about how your laundry is done, but we long ago simplified our laundry routine.  My 7-year-old can easily accommodate the few exceptions to our everything-in-one-load laundry norm.


As my son independently took care of the laundry, I felt the same feelings of pride and satisfaction that I felt the first time he took responsibility for making his own snacks.  While neither of these accomplishments are big things in and of themselves, each represents a new level of self-sufficiency.


My son, too, felt pride that he could now take care of the laundry himself.  His increasing mastery of a variety of tasks provides him with the groundwork of skills and confidence he needs in order to take on more complicated endeavors.


One of my child-rearing goals is to raise two adults who fully capable of running their own households.  (This sits alongside my ultimate goals of raising two loving and happy individuals.)  Each small step reminds me of how quickly my boys are growing.


Growing up is such an amazing journey.  For me, it’s a joy to watch my boys as they master each step along the way.



What household responsibilities are you teaching/have you taught your kids?

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