While parents are preparing to send their children off to college, they try to think of all the material items to take with them to supply their dorm rooms. One thing that some parents don't think of, is showing your child how to do his/her own laundry.
Last year, my nephew in college was approached by a fellow student, who complimented him on his every day appearance and wanted to know the secret of how to make your clothes look neat. My nephew explained "how to." The fellow student wanted a more 'hands on' approach. He asked if my nephew could accompany him on his next wash day to see what he was doing wrong with his laundry. My nephew agreed. My nephew, with his own clothing, showed the fellow student how to sort clothing, which products to use and why, how to dry on certain temps and why, how to fold or hang, etc. The fellow student was in awe, as he'd never been shown all the procedures. His mom had always done the wash, as most do. He'd never took the time to learn the techniques or the art of proper laundry.
As when my nephew asked how the fellow student had been doing his laundry, the young man lifted up his collapsible laundry bag filled with dirty laundry and stuffed it in the washer and turned on. Added the detergent!! LOL, as funny as this is, my nephew said the young man would have continued to put the laundry bag filled with clothes, in the dryer, too. That's one Mom who won't be having to wash a mountain of dirty clothes that come home from college, and can spend precious time with her college son.
By Terri from NV
MY CHILDREN WERE TAUGHT AT AN EARLY AGE TO DO LAUNDRY. I WORKED AND WITH 3 CHILDREN ALWAYS ON THE GO IT SURE HELPED ME OUT. ALTHOUGH ONE TIME I REMEMBER WELL MY SON WAS A TEENAGER AND HIS HAMPER WAS OVERFLOWING, I TOLD HIM I WANTED IT ALL DONE BY THE TIME I GOT HOME AND IT WAS...I ASKED HOW MANY LOADS DID HE HAVE TO DO,HE SAID 3 I TOLD HIM THERE WAS NO WAY HE COULD HAVE GOTTEN IT DONE IN THAT MANY LOADS,IT COULDN'T HAVE BEEN CLEAN, WAS THERE ANY ROOM IN THE WASHER FOR WATER??HE HAD TO RE DO IT,THE CORRECT WAY AND YEP YOU GUESSED RIGHT IT WAS MORE THAN 3 LOADS IT WAS ACTUALLY 6!! :)
If you are waiting until college to teach your children how to do laundry you are waiting too long.
I taught both of my kids to do their own laundry when they were seniors in high school, figuring we had a year in which to straighten out problems. They both complained mightily, but my son afterwards said that it was good training, because he knew exactly what to do when he went away to college, so it was one less stress to deal with.
I taught my sons to do their own laundry when they were 5 and six years old. We always had baskets to sort into -- whites, colored, jeans, whatever . When they are a little bigger, post the directions on how to run the machines above them. If they can read, they can certainly do their own laundry. Any kid going to college who can't figure out how to read the detergent box to do laundry is in BIG trouble.
Laundry sorting was my special job when I was a little kid. When I was tall enough to see into the machine, I was allowed to wash everything that got washed in hot water without bleach (dark colored socks and towels, pale socks and towels that didn't need bleach but would certainly turn funky colors if washed with the dark purple towels). By junior high, I was doing half the household laundry.
About the same time -- when I could see above the kitchen countertops and the stove, and was smart enough to know when I needed to use a stepping stool rather than just climb up on everything -- my mother started putting me in charge of dinner. While she made breakfast and packed lunches, I'd stick beans and meat in the crock pot and turn it on. After school, I'd add chopped onions and peppers that my mom and I had cut up the night before and left in the fridge. She'd come home at 5:30, add spices, wait fifteen minutes, and serve a really great soup. One pot of soup like that would be enough for several meals that week.
It's never too early to start teaching your kids important self-sufficiency skills. It's never too late, either. I'm teaching a 30-year-old friend how to cook for the first time in her life, so she can stop wasting hundreds of dollars eating out and buying pre-made meals all the time.
My oldest is nearly thirty now and still rolls out her tale of woe about how I had her doing her own laundry when she was nine--she does this, however, when a friend or coworker is complaining that their kids just won't do any chores.
We're a blended family, and at full tilt there was a point when we had three teenage daughters and a teenage son living at home, and a couple of their various friends that always showed up for dinner. My husband and I both worked, and time was at a premium.
I don't believe in making kids shoulder adult responsibilities while parents "lounge" but you're never going to have an independent adult when the job of raising a child is done if they aren't participating in life skills that will help them survive and also give them a sense of giving back, home is your first community.
Laundry wasn't gender-specific in our house, either. To be honest, our only son got ( and still gets) a better-looking load of wash than the girls ever did.
By the time a kid is in high school, doing laundry, running a vacuum, mowing the lawn and a hundred other minor but necessary tasks really ought to be in their repertoire. By the time they were all 16, we had them taking turns looking at the family budget and writing checks for utilities.
Childhood is a special time, but there are ways to let your kids enjoy being kids and give them the tools to be self-sufficient adults, too.
So I have to be honest, I did not know how to do laundry until my parents spent a month in europe the summer between high school and college leaving me home alone. I literally had to google it. In my defense my parents didn't do laundry much either we had a house keeper who did it while my parents were at work and I was at school. I also didn't know how to change my sheets on my bed (I had a bunk bed at school so it was hard!). You would be surprised how unfamiliar students can be with doing laundry when they get to college. Make sure you give them a little demonstration before they go. Also remember laundry machines at colleges are different, often larger industrial size so be sure you teach them the laundry basics not just how to use your machine at home. As a side note, make sure your children know how to cook/feed themselves. My parents did do an excellent job at this, it is very helpful in the long run!
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