Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Laundry Tips for Large Families

I asked my friend, Heather, to share what works for her. She has six daughters! This is how she does laundry.
What works for me is Laundry. My washer and dryer are at the end of a narrow room off my kitchen. Everyone puts their dirty clothes directly into the laundry room: No clothes hampers anywhere in my house. Usually we just toss them in the direction of the washer and they end up in a little pile on the floor next to the washer. They don't stay there long....I love having a washer and a dryer! To me they are as good as any female servant of bible times. I wash laundry every day except for Shabbat. Usually one of the very first things I do in the morning and one of the last things I do at night are start a load of laundry, and put one in the dryer. The clothes are put into the washer as soon as there are enough for a load and since I am in the vicinity for fixing breakfast and cleanup it's easy to go back and process the loads.

After breakfast we have our morning hygeine time, family bible reading time and then morning chores. (This order is crucial. If the children start into playing they will be worthless and miserable later for laundry chore. This allows them time to play after laundry before lunch. Then we can regroup and have another parent directed time right after lunch if needed.) For 2-3 children that morning chore is laundry. I usually at age four or five assign a child to fold a load of laundry, with minimal assistance on large items. If I have load made up of larger items (Daddy's clothes etc.) An older child will claim it. It works to benefit both the older and the younger. The younger child can't fold large items yet, and needs the load with lots of kitchen towels and small items, and the older child sees the load as easy because all the items are so large there are fewer actual pieces to fold.

The children are to fold and put away their load in one hour's time, or less, (NO NAGGING ALLOWED!) once they have proven they can, if they disobey I am to punish them quickly and restate the assignment with a brand new one hour's time. An incentive (chocolate) works well the first 6-12 months. If I don't glance at the time when they begin and allow slothfulness that day, it can make for a less-than-fun 1 1/2 to three hours, depending on when I FINALLY put my foot down.

The children usually listen to a story tape. "Jungle Jam and Friends the Radio Show" is a favorite around here: Entertaining even for adults and doesn't get old after you've heard it dozens of times. The one danger is when it is a new story the child can easily be enraptured and fail to apply herself diligently to the laundry task as she is so absorbed in listening.

Sometimes if I have 3 loads I will distribute the odd one into the two girls baskets so each is folding more than just one (don't tell!). Sometimes I offer an extra load to a younger child, and help her along as doing something that isn't the daily grind is sort of fun for a change. She also thinks it is fun to be like one of the bigger girls! Somedays when I really want to get a lot done (Friday!) I give them other chores for that hour that are not a part of the daily grind and it is a refreshing change for them. With their help on other things I fold the laundry (6 minutes per load) and we all put it away, or I leave it in the baskets clean and we finish it up on sunday, or Patrick occasionally (every couple years) folds some. He doesn't do as good a job as the children because he doesn't fold other peoples things just piles it up for them!

Having the children busy doing a job for the good of the household is a scriptural life skill. "By love serve one another." The majority of the work I do is the daily grind type for the good of everyone so I'm teaching lifeskills, and it keeps them from going from one place to another messing things up!

Babies can have blanket training during laundry time or be helping momma with a different chore.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Great tips. You know I was thinking how I need to have my children help with laundry folding as well. I don't mind the folding because for me it's relaxing. I have gone back and forth in my mind about giving up the laundry folding entirely....but .....I can't seem to do that. I guess, I enjoy it to much still. LOL

Chris in FL

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