The Laundry Monster, written by Jeanne Morrison Cook is a children’s picture book about a monster born out of piles of unfolded laundry, and the children learn that in order to defeat the monster, they must learn how to fold.
So the question is “At what age can my child start helping with the laundry?”
Here are some recommended laundry tasks broken down by age.
Matching socks – Age 20+ months
Sometime between 20 and 24 months, children will start to match items. Have your child get involved by matching some clothing into basic categories such as socks and towels. At around the age of 2 they may also start differentiating items based on shape, colour and size.
Sorting Clothes – Age 3+
From age 3 and up every child can throw clothes in the hamper. Older kids, usually starting around age 8 can separate whites and colours. Have your child put their dirty clothes in their laundry hamper at the end of the day as part of their night-time routine
Note: Children as young as 18 months old start to tune into what belongs to whom. Try asking your child to identify and sort certain clothing items into small piles such as their own t-shirts.
Loading the Washing Machine – Age 3+
Be careful of little hands coming into contact with laundry detergents but they are still capable of helping, with adult supervision.
Young children love to open and close machine doors, put clothes in the washer or pull them out of the dryer and twist knobs and push buttons on the machine.
Make it fun. Make throwing the laundry into the machine a game of basketball. Goooaaal!!
Folding Clothes – Age 4+
They can match socks and fold shorts and kitchen towels. Ages 8+ can fold and put away their clothes no problem!
Putting Away Clothes – Age 4+
Have your child help put their clothes away. You may need to show them where things go but they will quickly get the hang of it. It’s helpful if you have their socks and underwear located in the bottom drawers so they can reach.
Drying Clothes in the Laundry – Age 12+
This is a tricky one because of the need to read labels.
It’s important to read the labels of clothing before washing or drying them. Some say turn inside out, some say dry clean only, some say wash in cold. When the label says line dry or lay flat to dry, don’t put it in the dryer. A responsible 8- or 10-year-old should be able to manage.
Remember Having you kids “Help” won’t necessarily feel especially helpful, but making the most of your child’s natural instinct to get involved will not only build their confidence but it will teach them a valuable life skill.