How do I get my kids to help with the laundry? Here are 7 parenting tips.

Getting your kids to do house chores may take a little creativity and persistence to achieve. However, by getting off on the right foot, you can get your kids to enjoy helping with chores, including the laundry. And, since laundry is an unavoidable fact of life, you will all benefit from finding ways to make it fun and enjoyable. This whole process can begin when your kids are two years old, and continue when they enter middle school and high school.

1. Make laundry a fun time and allow the kids to take part in the process.

Like with many things, avoid using words that make the task more burdensome than fun. The use of chores as penalties only creates a greater emotional divide between a child's understanding of responsibility and their willingness to take ownership of those responsibilities. By using words that relate to doing laundry as something fun and playful, you set your entire family up for a more enjoyable experience. Try giving your laundry tasks a unique name, or at least something that will make you and the kids smile at the silliness. 

2. There are no laundry elves.

Try to do the laundry when the kids are around, so they understand the time and labor involved. Many adults have reported that-- until leaving home-- it never occurred to them the amount of effort required to stay on top of laundry; laundry simply appeared clean and in their closets without a second thought.

3. Laundry skill level 99.

Rather than doing laundry like other routine house chores, create a game that levels up as the kids participate. Each time the kids have mastered the basics already in place, add little tips and tricks on how it can be done more efficiently, from rounding up the dirties to putting the laundry away. Start small and slowly increase their responsibility by reducing your involvement in the task. 

4. The game is a foot (or a sock).

Allow your kids to help in sorting the clothes, separating the whites from the colored, and loading the clothes into the washing machine. By letting the kids each throw one in after the other, it becomes a sort of relay game.

5. Perfection is not an origami folded washcloth.

In addition to having them help in loading the washing machine, start teaching your kids how to fold the clothes by starting with something that won't make you crazy. Keep it simple, and ask your kids to fold the towels and rags. Allow them to imitate you while you fold. If they make mistakes, let them. When they see how smooth and neat yours are, they will want to know the tricks of perfection.

6. Narrate yourself out of a job.

Teach them the basics of operating the washing machine and dryer. Start with the basic operating buttons of the washing machine and dryer, teaching them what each does. Narrate as you program the machine for each wash, so they learn why washing on cold is important for avoiding shrinkage (yes, shrinkage). Then move to letting them (with little supervision) start operating the machine on their own. Eventually, you will have little or nothing to do other than watch and assist them when necessary.

7. Signs of independence.

At the stage where kids understand laundry is their responsibility, fewer antics are required to make it happen. Mind you, this doesn't mean there aren't still teaching moments to help them level up in your family laundry game. Now is the time to teach them on how to wash by hand. Some stains are more difficult than others and need particular attention. By teaching your kids how to stain treat and handwash items, they will be able to extend the life of their wardrobe. (Because the majority of the Wishfinity team admits to an inability to press or iron their own clothes, we can only recommend finding a friend who does.)

Make this a bonding experience, and keep in mind that it is never too early or too late to teach kids how to take on responsibilities.