Yes, you read that title right!
In my last post, I mentioned that Big Brother, my 7 year old son, has completely taken over the washing/drying of all our family's laundry. What a tremendous blessing!! I no longer have any dealings with the washing machine or the dryer. All I do is fold/hang the clean clothes and put them away. And my son is gaining valuable life skills (and some exercise!) in the process.
So how does this work?
I sat down with Big Brother at the beginning of summer break, and we talked about all the different chores that must be done in our home. I told him as he is growing older he is getting old enough to really be a big blessing to our home and family. He was excited at the idea of getting to make a real contribution! After hearing all the different jobs he could choose from, he decided to take on the challenge of doing the laundry. He has been faithful in doing this job all summer!
So first I showed him how we sort our laundry. We keep it super simple here by having a certain laundry basket for each kind of load (example: white clothes go in their own basket, towels & wash cloths go in their own, etc). Each person is responsible for making sure their dirty laundry makes it into the appropriate basket.
Next, we sat down together and made out a daily laundry schedule for the week. On Monday he washes bed linens, Tuesdays is dark clothes, whites and towels on Wednesday, and so on. Instructions for water level, temperature, etc. are written beside each day's load also. The schedule is posted on the wall beside the washing machine in our laundry closet so he can quickly see what needs to be done for the day and get started.
For the first week or so I guided him through each step of running the laundry through the machines. Our laundry detergent is on a shelf above the machines, so he stands on a small step stool in order to reach the soap on his own. I have showed him how to carefully measure out and pour in the detergenr before putting the load in the machine. He has learned to listen for the washing machine to kick off so he can switch the load to the dryer. He knows to take out the filter, clean it, and replace it before setting the timer and turning the dryer on. The dryer alarms when it is finished running, and he puts the load of clean laundry into a basket and takes it to my room for folding/hanging.
By the end of the first week, he was doing all the steps on his own with me simply there to supervise and answer questions. By the second week he was completing the job totally on his own. Now he gets it done and I do not even have to be involved at all. I am free to attend to other chores knowing he is fully capable of taking care of the laundry!
We live in a small, rented duplex, and our landlord takes care of all the mowing and maintenance. We are not allowed to have pets here either, so thosemore "boyish" chores are not available to him right now.Doing the laundry involves lots of moving, reaching, and lifting which are good for him though! He even bragged to Grandma the other day that he was getting bigger muscles from lifting all those heavy laundry baskets! ;)