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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday’s Toolbox

Tuesday's Toolbox button

This week’s tool: the laundry! Make it work for you! It’s worth pointing out that when the kiddos are helping Mama out with the household chores they are definitely learning skills they will use as adults. And your sons’ wives will thank you if they can (and will!) do the wash without turning their underwear pink. As adults, we have a tendency to forget that doing simple things, like sorting clothes before putting them in the washer are skills! But, besides the practical value of knowing how to get clothes clean, there is added value to doing the laundry with your children. Note: These tips are for the primary/elementary crowd.

Littles can sort dirty laundry by light, dark, and whites. This will help them to discern value, a valuable skill in art. If they have difficulty understanding that say a chocolate-colored shirt goes in the dark pile but a gold shirt goes in the lights, show them how the gold shirt looks out of place in the pile of dark clothes.

When the clothes are clean, they can sort them again by size. Being able to see relative size will be helpful to them in math, science, and art. You can also explore the world of different textures and explain how more delicate clothing needs to be washed separately from clothing with a rough texture and why. Seeing and feeling the textures will help them in art as well.

Folding will give them practice using their motor skills…hey my hubby still asks me to fold his shirts when he has to go to a conference. Folding clothes neatly is an important skill that takes time to master. And folding oddly shaped clothes will give them hands-on time manipulating objects and seeing them different ways.

Finally, have them put their clothes away…show them how to organize their drawers so they can easily find what they are looking for. Being able to organize your belonging is an important life skill (and one I’m still working on myself!).

A final note: Don’t assume they already know how to do something. Show them how and do it with them first. Then, when they feel comfortable with a task, watch them do it. Eventually they’ll be able to do it on their own.

View previous installments of Tuesday's Toolbox here.

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This post has been linked to Work's for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.

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  1. I love how specific you have gotten here with what academic as well as "life skills" kids learn by doing something as simple as helping with laundry. You know, you really are right. Sometimes I discount sorting, washing, folding and putting away laundry as just a chore and something that perhaps does teach good work ethic yet I don't think about all the valuable things my children are learning. You've convinced me. :)

  2. Could you teach my husband how to sort clothes by white, dark, and color? I have a labeled hamper for each and he still tossing everything in the one labeled Dark. *sigh*

  3. I hear you...that's why you have to train them early:-)

  4. Now no mom needs to feel guilty for asking for help with the laundry, as though she were wasting valuable school time. You listed the academic benefits so clearly!

    I haven't folded socks, towels, facecloths, or kids' undies in years, partly for educational reasons and also to help me out. :)

    Annie Kate

  5. You are so right that kids need to be involved with the laundry. I like to have the kids start by learning to find things in the clean clothes, like finding all the socks and matching them, and also folding wash cloths. In addition, if you are consistent you can teach even very young children to sort -- my just turned two year old puts her PJs in the correct color coded hamper most mornings (and when she doesn't we put it in the right one together so she learns)

  6. Great suggestions! My oldest does her own laundry, but my youngest only puts his away (and I have to say, it isn't pretty!). I should probably get him more involved in the whole process. I want my future daughter-in-law to appreciate me!


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