One of the many battles I had this summer was with my two older kids regarding laundry. I wash and fold, they are supposed to put away. A day later no one has clothing. How??
I have come to find they would either put it right back in with the dirty clothing, shove it under furniture or hide it in toy boxes. It was a mess of explaining, punishing, yelling, frustration and blech all summer. Last week mom snapped.
I explained to my children that me doing their laundry is a privilege. We have front load machines and they are old enough to do this chore. If they cannot respect the work I am doing for them, they can do their own work.
My 7 year old is now entirely responsible for her own laundry and the 4 year old is on warning. She has a laundry basked in her closet. When it gets full she must bring it down and ask mom or dad to show her how to run the washer.
Here are the rules:
- You cannot go to school in dirty clothing
- You cannot be late for anything because you waited to wash your clothes
- No whining to me that your favorite whatever is dirty
- No getting your brother or anyone else to do this
This weekend she received the full experience. I reminded her to check her basket. It was full so she brought it downstairs and asked for help. We got everything in the wash, then dryer. She brought her clothing int to he living room to fold. I went back to cleaning the kitchen.
A short time later she came to me in frustration, near tears, because her 2 year old brother was unfolding her clothing and throwing it around the living room. Her 4 year old brother was refusing to help her and playing with the 2 year old.
I calmly looked at her and let her know that this is exactly what I have to deal with every time I fold a load of laundry for the last 6 years. She needs to take a breathe and figure out how she wants to handle this situation, but this is her situation to handle. A few minutes later I poked my head in the living room and reminded the 4 year old to not give his sister a hard time because his laundry privileges were also on the line.
By the time I was done my chores things were progressing peacefully. I asked her if she had a better understanding of why I was getting so upset this summer about the laundry. My daughter proceeded to tell me that doing this work with the boys was really hard.
Sometimes, experience really is the best teacher. She is still responsible for her own laundry. Honestly, I do not see any reason to take this chore back from her at this time. As her school responsibilities increase she may get extra help from me, but for now we will continue with her laundry being her sole responsibility.
Sassy Viking Mama