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How to Involve Kids in Laundry at Home


I am often surprised at the simplicity of (and sometimes a statement of the obvious) Project Montessori at Home posts. A friend of mine asked to explain Montessori to her, and as I explained Practical Life aspects she looked at me and said, “Aren’t children already getting that stuff at home anyway?

Why do they have to go to school for it?”

Yes and no, mostly no. Plus Montessori school creates an environment that even with the best efforts a home cannot achieve for children.

happy little funny householder child boy in laundry with washing machine

How do I motivate my child to do laundry?

Montessori emphasizes the prepared environment. Therefore, your first step is to create a kid-friendly laundry space.

So, that brings me to this Practical Life Project Montessori post about The Hamper. In an effort to organize our home, we recently purchased two laundry hampers. One for our room and one for our boys. 

It occurred to me that this hamper is nicely integrated into our desire to place a Montessori overlay on our home mostly for our boys but definitely, a part of the desire is helpful to us, too. 

Then invest in kid-sized laundry baskets, kid-sized laundry detergent bottles (I would avoid pods.), a kid-friendly table for folding, and maybe a stool to assist. 

How do I teach my child to do his own laundry?

Sometimes kids need to have a project broken down in small steps. Heck, even adults need this approach! So, what are the steps?

  • Gather laundry and place it in the basket
  • Carry the basket to the laundry area
  • Go through the laundry and demonstrate to your child how to read the “care” label on the clothes 
  • Talk about dividing darks and lights 
  • Load up the machine – discuss not overloading the machine
  • Add the detergent
  • Choose an appropriate cycle based on the load 
  • How old should a child be to do their own laundry?

I didn’t even have to introduce the hamper to my 2.5-year-old. He immediately noticed it and was curious about it, So I explained how we put dirty clothes in it and bring them to the laundry room when it gets full. I explained it as a ‘we’ not a ‘mama and daddy’. This Montessori thing is a family effort, all hands included…

So, as we prepare his bath at the end of the day, he happily brings his clothes (and his younger brother’s clothes) over to the hamper.

Then when the hamper was full he ‘helped’ me carry it over to the washing machine and load up the machine with the dirty clothes. First, though, we sorted lights and darks (there are hampers that have separate baskets for lights and darks).

Then, shocker, he likes to put soap in and start the machine. Transferring the load of wet laundry is also quite fun and interesting for him (I know this fun won’t last but at least he’ll learn something!). So he helps me transfer the clothes into the dryer and, of course, start the load.

We’re still working on the next step: folding. Hey, they are never too young.

Thanks for visiting!


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