What age is a "good," age children can do laundry by themselves?

Megan - posted on 05/25/2011 ( 120 moms have responded )

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this may seem like a difficult question and really have to think about it but it blows my mind!
To me it depends on the maturity level. My bio's love to help but to me they are just too young!
What do you think????

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Jodi - posted on 05/25/2011

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I live in a much sunnier climate, so I get to save on that electricity bill. I also have indoor drying racks, which I use inside in the winter, or put on the back deck in the summer when it rains :D

[deleted account]

My 9 year olds have been doing it alone (on occasion... I'm usually the laundry washer) since 8.

Alex - posted on 11/01/2011

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I agree with some of the other posts here. This reminds me of an image of my daughter carrying her laundry basket and loading it into the washer......in Huggies! I started her when she was 1 and now she is able to take care of all her laundry on her own at age 6. Don't make them do it, just teach them how, and from there it will become common place. She was so used to doing it that she just took over when she could do the entire process on her own.

Terri - posted on 05/26/2011

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All of ours started doing their own by the time they were 13. I have all the necessary supplies in easy reach. I think it's a disservice to teens not to teach them basic chores that they will have to do when they go off to college. At this point in our house, with a hubby, one 18 yr old and the other almost 14 yr old, we all do our own laundry.

Jodi - posted on 05/25/2011

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I do use my dryer sometimes. Usually just to keep up with the kids school uniforms or anything we urgently need. But I certainly don't make a habit of it.

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Gillian - posted on 04/17/2012

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If they can walk they can sort socks or pick things up to hand to you. By the time they're really capable, it won't be so easy to get them to help. Unfortunately.

Pam - posted on 04/17/2012

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I have 6 children ages 23, 18, 16, 15, 13, and 9. My husband and I teach our children to do their own laundry around age 13. Huge help for me and it teaches them this responsibility for when they go off to college and into the real world. When my oldest daughter was in high school, she actually thanked me for teaching her because none of her friends knew how. We are doing our children no favors by doing everything for them. Our job as parents is to teach our children what they need to know in order to make it out in the world as adults. We are cheating them if we don't train them to be independent!

Liz - posted on 11/01/2011

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I was doing most of the household chores, including cooking dinner, by age 12 because my mother was often in hospital for months at a time over a period of about seven years.

I made mistakes. Some meals weren't heated through enough, some dishes got broken, some laundry got mixed...oh...and my favourite about which my mother still jokes, the time that I put loose tea in the coffee machine. Bleugh!

Anyway, the upshot was that I learned how to do all these things even without supervision. If you teach your kids how to do these chores and are there to supervise, they will not only know how to do the tasks themselves but feel that they are contributing to the running of the household: something I feel is important.

I certainly won't be overloading my daughter with chores to the point where she feels resentful, but she'll know how to look after herself properly by the time she leaves home to go to college. :)

Tamara - posted on 06/23/2011

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my oldest started doing it alone when they were about 11 and 12 when i got tired of digging for their clothes.

[deleted account]

My kid has always helped me put stuff into the dryer. I'd say she'll be ready to do it all on her own when she's tall enough to reach all the knobs.

Chanda - posted on 06/23/2011

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My son has helped since he was able to walk. He loved to pull stuff fromthe dryer and put it into the basket. He's now 8 and does his own laundry, but uses a footstool to reach the buttons and sometimes to pull stuff out of the washer depending on what is being washed. This was all easier with a front load system, but our apartment has a top load washer in it. If he's washing his laundry by himself, he folds his own stuff. If we're doing smaller loads together, we both fold together. I usually like to combine our laundry since it's one more activity for us to do together.

Megan - posted on 06/23/2011

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SM of my 2 children is making my 5 yr old DD in charge and her own 6 YR OLD girl in charge!!! its driving me nuts!

Megan - posted on 06/23/2011

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SM of my 2 children is making my 5 yr old DD in charge and her own 6 YR OLD girl in charge!!! its driving me nuts!

Megan - posted on 06/23/2011

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SM of my 2 children is making my 5 yr old DD in charge and her own 6 YR OLD girl in charge!!! its driving me nuts!

Danika - posted on 06/23/2011

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My mum let me help her with the laundry when I was ten. It started off just sorting the clothes and putting them in the machine. When she thought I was ready, she watched and helped me with the detergent, and eventually the settings and starting it off. I was doing my own laundry without supervision by the time I was 12 years old. My son is 2 and he helps me put the clothes in when I've sorted them. I don't think there's a specific age when they can do it by themselves, but I would suggest not letting them handle the detergent until they're at least 10 (don't know how old they are).
I hope this helps.

Jennifer - posted on 06/03/2011

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I grew up in a house where every child was expected to help with everything based on what they were capable of doing. All of my children sort the dirty clothes by type and color. My 4yo twins help sort and fold the laundry. The 8yo can put the clothes in the wash and empty the drier. the 10yo and 12yo can wash their own clothes.

Angela - posted on 06/02/2011

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i ask my son if he wants to help, 2 n a half, same with the dishwasher n anything else i do bar cooking on the cooker/stove. it doesn't hurt em to help, if anything it stops them creating more work by throwing everything everywhere when your backs turned. if he does want to he will, if not it still takes me as long because my boy is a climber. plus its all quality time at the end of the day if you use enough positive reinforcement. :o)

[deleted account]

Wow, now I know I must be an ogre. 10, 12, 14?! My boys (4 & 2) do laundry now! They start helping with the washing as soon as they show an interest (18 months). My 4 year old knows how to wash clothes (clothes in machine, powder in, set the machine and turn on, as well as hanging, folding and put away). He can do this unsupervised, but I'm usually standing nearby. His 2 yr old brother is learning how to set the machine (the buttons of my top loader are on a panel closest to you) now. They usually work together hanging their washing.

I anticipate my eldest to be able to take over washing his own clothes by the time he's 5. If he wants to do it as a chore for pocket money he can, otherwise I'll do it and he can fold and put away.

I think it's best to start teaching them the basics very early on. My boys tidy up their toys and have done ever since they were old enough to take them out, so now I only have to tell them it's time to tidy up and they do it. They are also able to set/clear the table, load/unload the dishwasher (when I had one), vacuum and a couple other chores. They showed an interest and wanted to help from about 18 months, so I took advantage of that desire to teach them.

One of the things my eldest loves to do is cook. Since I've found a child safe knife, he can actually make an entire main meal (meat and steamed veggies) himself... so I let him!

I don't think we give kids enough credit for their brain power. 13 to teach a boy to do laundry?! Holy cow, by then my eldest will be able to be totally self sufficient (in terms of knowing how to do all the normal household chores).

Pamela - posted on 06/01/2011

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It depends upon the individual child and their own capabilities. Because I was the youngest of 3 daughters and I watched my older siblings doing things that I wanted to do too, I was taught how to iron clothes at the age of 5. I also was taught how to do my own laundry, first on a wash board (asw we didn't get a washer until I was older) and then in the washing machine.
You should know your own children's abilities as they grow and therefore be able to decide when a child can handle a certain task. If the child WANTS to do it....let them try, with supervision of course, and see how it goes.
If it does not go well, encourage the child by suggesting that they wait a month or so and try again. Put the date up somewhere where the child can see it and help them remember that they can try again on that day.
Teaching self-reliance is a good thing and should always be encouraged with proper supervision and instruction.

Mediatrix - posted on 06/01/2011

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My 8.5yr old twins (Boy/Girl) are doing their own laundry over the weekends and basic thinggs like socks, hankies on any day. It is nice to mention that washing machines are not a household basic in my world, and we do not own one. They are generaly responsible. The only part of laundry they do not handle is ironing, They started with assisting to fold and keep at the age of of 2.5, the girl especialy, the boy joined a year later. At 4, they were already doing their small easy end to end. I still handle their most important sensitive clothes. I started at six and i have no regrets so at 5.5 i started slowly getting them to like it, I am a patient and my joy is if i droped dead today, they will make it in life, all they would need is a caring person to remind them of my love and they are good to survive.

Sherri - posted on 06/01/2011

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My sister and I were never allowed to do the laundry, only fold and put it away, but no one was allowed to touch the washer and dryer but my mother. I guess I do the same thing. Occasionally I allow my husband to do it if circumstances are such that I cannot go up and down the stairs but other than that, no one is allowed to touch my machines or the laundry. I wash, I dry, I fold, and I put away. Then again I live in a family of all males and in my experience, men suck at laundry. However, this is not always true and I think as long as your children are mature enough to do it correctly, why not let them? I wish I had that luxury.

Marie Jayne - posted on 06/01/2011

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My lo 2+1/2yrs love helping me do the washing, she even manages to open the washer door, even i struggle with that. lol x

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My 22 month old insistes on helping me strip the bed and put the sheets in the washer! So at the same time I'm showing her which ones go together. I can't see myself expecting her to help with it for a lot of years yet though. She can have other smaller jobs around the place.

We are farmers and she loves to be outside with Daddy and Pa helping to feed baby animals and horses and collect eggs so I'd rather those are her jobs (in about 5 or 6 years) as it gives her a chance to spend time with Daddy which she misses as he has such long hours.

Kat - posted on 05/31/2011

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My daughter Kassidey uses a laundry stain remover in every wash. She has four boys, 9y, 6y, 2y, & 6mo so the messes they make could spell disaster in the laundry. She has taught the older two how to measure detergent, softner etc and how to do their own laudry. She washes and dries the clothes but even the 2 yr old gets to "fold" the laundry and put it away. She uses the dryer with her 20+ loads of laundry every week :-O

Tarysha - posted on 05/31/2011

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My daughter started helping me "fold" clothes when she was about 2. One of her favorite activities at that age was to sort the clothes into color groups - teaches colors and laundry. They can help pour the soap in and push the buttons (with your assistance) at that age too.

She's now 12 and has been doing her own laundry completely for about two years. However, my boyfriend's 8 y/o, I only have her sort and fold. Like you said, maturity level.

Hope that helps!

Sally - posted on 05/31/2011

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My son was fairly young, in my opinion, when he started doing laundry. It was out of necessity. I think he was around 7 or 8 probably. I was having severe back problems and I just couldn't lift a heavy laundry basket. He had been helping with the laundry since he was just a toddler, tho. As soon as he showed any interest, I had him helping me sort the whites from the colors. I also let him fold things and put away his own laundry...with supervision from a very early age. So when it got to the point of my back problems, he already knew how to sort, fold and put away. He would gather the laundry from the house, bring it to the living room and sort it into baskets with me watching. Then he would drag the baskets to the laundry room, load the washer. At this point it was no big deal to teach him how to measure the detergent and add it to the load and start the machine. Then he'd put the clean clothes from the washer to the dryer and turn on the dryer. When it was done drying, he'd bring the basket of clean dry laundry back to the living room and together, we would fold things and he'd put the stuff away. It was a gradual learning experience, but by the time he was 9 or 10, he could do it all by himself. I might say that he did a much better job than his father...lol. When I met his dad, everything he owned was the same shade of purplish gray.

Now that my son is grown, he is very particular with his clothing. He learned to do it correctly as he grew up. He knew from the start the standards I have for laundry and that's just what he expects. I think his father's incompetence with laundry is not so much that he CAN'T do it, but he learned if he does a sloppy job of it, he won't have to do it. So the simple answer is, if your sons...or daughters WANT to help when they are little, start them off right and make sure they get plenty of practice while you supervise. And be sure to let them know you appreciate their help. That goes for ANY household chore.

Janet - posted on 05/31/2011

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My kids have been helping since they were toddlers. One is now in the Navy and the other two are teens living at home. I still do the wash, but if something misses getting washed, the kids know how to do it themselves :)

Chris - posted on 05/31/2011

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All of my kids have been putting their clean laundry away since they were 5 or 6. My 10 year old can do all of the laundry, sorting, stain removal, transferring from washer to dryer and folding afterward. The only thing that I always do is to sort socks. No one else knows who the socks belong to. 18 is NOT the time to learn household skills, it's a process. If they can do a chore, they should be doing it, at least some of the time.

Barbara - posted on 05/31/2011

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I think me & my sister started when we were about 7-9. I was taught mostly so I would quit throwing muddy jeans in with clean clothes. As far as my kids, my 13 yr old lives with dad and doesn't know how to do laundry at all or even do dishes where as my 8 yr old can do both dishes and laundry (if i separate) he doesn't do it very often at all but at least I know if it really comes down to needing help them he can help. Its really up to you and if you would be comfortable with them doing it and trust them to do it right.

[deleted account]

I've done my own laundry for as long as I can remember.

My mom was kind of lazy with laundry so I learned to do it myself. I only did my own though.

Joy - posted on 05/31/2011

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I think it depends on maturity too. My daughter's 21 months and helps me put laundry into the washing machine, transfer to the dryer and then folds. She's way too little to do it by herself, but I'm teaching her how and letting her imitate me. She loves riding in the basket with or without clothes.

My parents had me putting clothes in the dryer & turning it on when I was 5, but they turned on the washing machine. By high school I was ironing as well as doing all the laundry for the house (because I traded other chores I didn't like to do with my sister.)

Kristin - posted on 05/31/2011

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I would start teaching them little bits - like sorting and folding towels as early as 6 or 7. At 7 or 8 they could start learning how full to make the loads and how to fold simple things. By 9 or 10, I would think they could start doing the whole process with supervision. My son has done his own laundry - on his own - since he was 12 and probably could have started a little earlier.

[deleted account]

It’s all on maturity and the ability to follow directions. I did laundry at 8. My daughter vacuums with a bunch of other chores that do not require chemicals, except turning on the dishwasher. Her newest gift was a Dirt Devil, because she wanted a better vacuum, she is 12. However, I don’t let he do the laundry because there are too many items that can’t be dried and I’d rather mess it up then her. She does great with everything else and I’m sure she could do it if I added it to the list, but she has a lot of chores already.

Tina - posted on 05/31/2011

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There are a lot of good answers already, and they have a great variety of answers. The age of maturity, the understanding of what is best with what, and how much detergent to use according to the load type, and understanding the need to do what is best with each kind of load is helpful in the doing of the laundry, and if they can do that and understand it all, and strong enough to lift up the bottle, box, etc. and not spill too much in the process then they should be able to do it themselves. But of course watch them at first to see that they know what they are doing and allow for questions as well if needed. I.e. does this need to be dry cleaned, or can it be washed on delicate for example . Learning what is best here will help to save on the laundry and the dry cleaning bills too.

Jodie - posted on 05/31/2011

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My now five year old daughter was putting her dirty washing into the laundry basket from the age of two and often helped put all the dirty washing into the washing machine (being supervised) also age two and would turn on the machine after being told step-by-step how to do it. She then enjoyed watching it go round and then sitting on top for the spin cycle lol

Alisha - posted on 05/31/2011

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i think that from the time that they are able to independently walk that children should "help" whether it be with picking up toys or doing laundry. it can be as simple as putting clothes in the proper bin, sorting by color, spraying stains, measuring soap,helping load or unload, folding laundry, even matching socks. the idea is to teach them and encourage their efforts even if they dont fold properly (or whatever their "job" is) they will learn :) i'm not saying let them do it alone, but i do think its a great teaching opportunity as well as a way to spend time together and build confidence :)

Kristi - posted on 05/30/2011

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I think it's great to let them help with the parts that they can help with. It's pretty hard to mess up folding washcloths. My three-year old knows how to do that. I let her do those and the dishtowels. We like cloth napkins, so I let her do those too. It's not perfect, but she feels so proud. When I hang out wash I let her hand me the clothes pins and diapers. I will let my 7 year old transfer wet clothes into the dryer and start them up. Everything is on an auto set, so all she has to do is move them over and push the button. Sometimes I have them help me with sorting. I do like having my 7 year old put her own clothes away now as that is what I hate the most about laundry!

Tiffany - posted on 05/30/2011

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I'm pretty picky about how my laundry gets done but I cant refuse the help haha. My 3 yr old will help me move the clothes out of the wash and into the dryer. She will also push the start button on the wash when I have it all ready. Like I said I'm a little picky so as she's moving them from one place to the other, I just pull out the ones I want hung up or that I know had stains in them so I can recheck them. She's now starting to help me sort everyones clothes into piles on the couch and puts her own away. =) I dont want to turn her away when she's wanting to help bc that wouldnt be teaching her anything even tho it would get done a lot faster by me doing it myself. =)

[deleted account]

My 10 year old does it about once a month I stand there and watch her to make sure she sorts it right I showed her about a year ago. Half the time I make her empty the dryer and bring the laundry in (our laundry room is outside). I still can't get her to fold the laundry. She does put her own clothes away.

Candyce - posted on 05/30/2011

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I just had a thought: Since a lot of moms mentioned that it really depends on how tall they are, if you have a front-loading washer and dryer, they could really be younger. Especially if you point out where the light should be when they start the thing. My four year old wouldn't be able to do laundry with the top-loader, since he's too short, but he's easily capable of managing a front-loader, where all the buttons and doohickeys are at the level of his chin. If you want to play with the buttons so much, go ahead. Just clean some clothes while you do it, lol. Saves us both some trouble in the long run, since I'm not planning to wash a half-grown boy's funky nasty clothes after football or basketball. Uh, no. Thank you.

Julie - posted on 05/30/2011

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While I'm sure I could have done it on my own earlier. I didn't start doing my laundry completely by myself until I was 12, but my mom and I did the laundry for the house together my whole life leading up to that. Once I was old enough to fluff and fold we'd pick a day and do all the laundry and just sit and talk and fold. Whenever they are old enough to do them indpendently is great, but doing it with them is a lot more fun!

Candyce - posted on 05/30/2011

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Depends on how old they are and if they know how to work the machine. My son (five in two months) just did two loads today, with me supervising the amount of liquid he poured in. But he's been helping since he could push the basket (at 2). I figure in another year of doing it with supervision, he can do it on his own... so maybe 6?

Cynthia - posted on 05/30/2011

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Since it's just my son and I we usually just toss darks or whites (which we have a magnet that I made to tell us which one is currently in there) and when it gets full either one of us will put in soap and start. Whoever see that it is done first will then transfer to dryer and there are two baskets, his and mine. When dry we seperate and fold/hang and put our own clothes aways. My son is 11 yrs old but we have been doing this since he was about 7yrs old since he understood that I can't keep the house clean by myself. :)

Brittany - posted on 05/30/2011

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My daughter, 3, will load the washer for me, put in detergent, fill the Downy ball, and help me put up laundry. As for the dials well, she can not reach those. My boys, 5 and 3, put up the towels.

As far as actually doing all of the work by themselves I think this boils down to a "when is a good time to give an allowance" question. My kids do not does these things without some sort of reward. At this age it is obviously not money but, something.

I would think around 10-13 would be a good time to start teaching. Our child also do other household tasks like helping put dishes away, they may even help prepare meals, wiping off the table, setting the table, and other small basic cleaning.

Andrea - posted on 05/30/2011

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If they are tall enough to reach the dials and can read them, they are old enough to do simple laundry. I raised three kids, all independent. Just remember they will make a mistake, but that is how they learn.

Grace - posted on 05/30/2011

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Hi,
i believe there is no perfect age for it...if they show interest in helping (wich is a good thing!) why not?
It is a part of their education, to learn to share tasks and not to think all shows up done, by miracle - or even worse...that they are not allowed to do it, because they are useless and would do it wrong anyway.
I have no problem at all that my kid makes his bed totally 'twisted'...or that he puts the forks in the wrong place..he has to learn! And i allways tell him how proud i am for it (even if i have to make it again later.!)
Kids may be unexperienced, but they are smart and love to feel usefull. Help them become independent and confident people, later on!

Jenni - posted on 05/30/2011

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My 4 yo and 3 yo help with laundry occasionally. They gather and put away their own fold ups. Sometimes i let them put shirts on hangers. They know how to sort though. I usually wash but i plan on teaching 4 yo to do more with laundry in coming yrs.

Brianne - posted on 05/30/2011

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My Daughter who is 8 does fold and put away her cloths. My son who is 7 puts his own cloths away. I think it depends on how much responsibilty they are used to. Introduce it slowly by showing then have them help you. You can build up to stuff gradually.

Paula - posted on 05/30/2011

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My 3yr old loves to help load the washer/dryer and ATTEMPTS to help me fold it.haha!my oldest son i taught to do his own laundry at 12.I's say the early tween years makes the most sense.

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