Do you struggle with getting your kids to get their dirty clothes into the hamper?
Are you constantly finding random socks and inside-out T-shirts stuffed between couch cushions, collecting in the corners of the bathroom, or being scattered across the living room?
Does the task of putting away your kids' clean clothes fall completely on you, and you're getting kind of sick of it?
If so, then it may be time to establish expectations and implement some new routines in your home to help with getting your kids on board with laundry-based responsibilities.
If you’ve read my blog post on The [Positive] Laundry Mindset or have seen the reel I posted on Instagram about the steps I took to create changes in my own home in regards to laundry overwhelm, then you already know about the system I implemented to reduce the stress that this household duty used to plague me with.
This post, however, is going to be dedicated to teaching you some tips on how to get your kids more invested in getting their dirty clothes where they need to be, as well as how to assist your littles with pulling their age-appropriate weight when it comes to putting their clean clothes away, so that you no longer have to carry 100% of the laundry-doing burden.
Tip #1: You get a hamper, you get a hamper, you get a hamper!
In order to help your kids to understand their dirty laundry responsibilities, consider investing in hampers for each of their bedrooms, as well as ones to place in common spaces where dirty clothes tend to land. These spaces may include bathrooms, hallways, or other high-traffic areas in your home. By adding hampers to these spaces, you'll be able to set your kids up for success when it comes to assisting them with building the habit of getting their dirty clothes where they need to be.
When working with children, selecting hampers without lids is the best way to go. This way your little ones will have one less step to have to follow through with while working to get their dirty clothes into the hamper. All they have to do is ball up their items and toss them in!
Pro Tip: Be sure to place their hampers in visible areas of their bedrooms to beat any object permanence struggles!
You can make this process more engaging by letting your children pick the hampers they enjoy the styles and colors of, or by simply purchasing a pack of multi-colored pop-up hampers* that each individual child can then choose from.
When adding hampers to common areas, consider getting ones that you like the look of and that match your home's aesthetic.
Tip #2: Use supportive talk.
When building any new routine-- especially one that requires participation from kids-- it’s important to approach it with a supportive, encouraging nature rather than a punitive, put-down one.
Instead of shaming and blaming your children for the messes they’ve made with their clothes in the past, take a moment to sit them down for a family meeting to explain the new "helper responsibility" they'll each have. Explain in simple yet clear terms as to what your expectations are of them, and as they practice the process of getting their dirty laundry into your home's hampers, offer gentle reminders and extrinsic rewards (such as high fives, hugs, and verbal praise) upon follow through.
Tip #3: Create "homes" for your kids' clothes.
Now it's time to discuss having your children put their clean clothing away. By themselves.
This is definitely a more challenging task that needs to be practiced with your children when it's developmentally-appropriate for them to do so. When you feel your kids can handle putting some or all of their clean laundry away, here is my top tip for supporting them.
When each of your kids' dresser drawers is designated to hold a specific category of clothing, it makes it easier for them to remember where to find and put away their items. By working with your children to establish specific drawer spaces for shirts, pants, pajamas, etc., they can begin to become more independent with not only their laundry put-away responsibilities, but also with dressing themselves each day!
Pro Tip: You can use adjustable drawer dividers* to create natural separations within each dresser drawer so that specific subcategories can be zoned out. For example, in the "Shirts" drawer, you can use drawer dividers to separate tank tops from short sleeved shirts from long sleeved shirts.
No, your kids' drawers may not look as neat and tidy as they would if you were the one putting the clothes away, but look at the bright side! Having them take over this responsibility removes one of the dozens of spinning plates from your hands!
By following the three tips shared in this post, you'll be able to support your children with developing an important life skill, becoming more autonomous, and feeling a greater sense of purpose as members of the household.
Not to mention, it'll help to take some of the load off of you.
If the information shared in this post helped you to gain a fresh perspective on ways to develop systems to better maintain your home, you may be interested in learning more about the one-on-one coaching and in-person services I can provide you with!
(*Amazon Associate link)