When to teach my child about laundry and chores
Parents don’t always have all the answers when it comes to raising kids. For the questions you’re not sure about, you can ask us. Here is the first in a new series where our team of early childhood education experts answers real parent questions. If you have a question you’d like us to answer, email us at KA@kiddieacademy.net with the subject line: “Ask KA Blog” and your question might be featured next!
Parent Question: When should I be teaching my child about laundry? What other chores are appropriate for the preschool age?
Renee Thompson, Kiddie Academy’s Director of Curriculum answers:
Children tend to become interested in dressing themselves and picking out their own outfits around 4 years of age. This is a good time to work on classification and sorting skills with preschoolers. By selecting outfits together, parents can reinforce concepts such as colors, textures and patterns, and help children develop their own sense of style. By allowing children to dress themselves, children practice fine motor skills such as buttoning, zipping and fastening which will help them be more self-sufficient as they explore their independence.
Parents can have discussions with children about the weather, and what clothing is appropriate for different temperatures and conditions. Children can learn that outerwear may be hung in closets near the front door, for example, while regular clothing might be stored neatly in drawers in their rooms. Consider hanging low hooks for children to hang jackets on instead of using hangers on high rods that children cannot reach. Also consider labeling children’s dresser drawers with words and pictures to help them know where to store pants, shirts, nightclothes, socks, etc. Children can be given the task of matching socks and shoes to be put away in drawers and closets. Keep baskets and bins handy for things like hats and mittens, shoes and other accessories.
At this age, children are also capable of putting dirty clothes into hampers. Consider keeping a child-sized hamper in the bathroom near the tub if that is where they typically undress. When it is time to do laundry, children can help carry their hampers to the laundry room and sort light colors from dark colors. They can also help sort clean clothes into groups by family members. Preschoolers may struggle with tasks such as folding, however, so don’t expect perfection. Remember to praise children for their attempts and support their efforts to be show independence as they master these life skills. Parents can help children classify clothing into groups, such as pants, shirts, underwear, etc., as well as subgroups: short sleeve shirts, long-sleeve shirts, sweaters and jackets, etc., and children can put the piles into the appropriate drawers. To help children with this task, it is a good idea to remove clothing from drawers that are not appropriate for the current season, and continue to swap them out with the seasons. It is also a good idea to remove clothing that your child has outgrown regularly. The less children have to manage, the easier the task will be for them, and the more willing they will be to help!