A new world has opened up to me! My 9-year-old did her own laundry today… from start to finish. Folded and put away too! For some, this may not be a big deal but this is a first in our house.
Let me start from the beginning.
It started innocently enough with a twitter party that was hosted by the interactive and fun people over at WhirlPool Canada. A twitter party is a chat on twitter, with a host or two, a hashtag. lots of conversation and sometimes great prizes. Todays chat was about getting your kids to help out around the house. Alyson Schafer, a parenting expert, was on hand to offer realistic advice that could be implemented right away. You may have noticed that I shared one of Alyson’s articles on my facebook page earlier today. Below is an excerpt that opened my eyes to the types of responsibilities my kids are ready for.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES FOR 9-10 YEAR OLD
- Change sheets on the bed and put dirty sheets in the hamper
- Operating the washer and/or dryer
- Measure detergent and bleach
- Buying groceries using a list and comparative shopping
- Crossing streets unassisted
- Keeping own appointments (dentist, school, etc. and making them within bike distance)
- Preparing family meal
- Pouring and making tea, coffee and kool-aid
- Planning own birthday or other parties
- Doing neighbourhood chore
- Do chores without a reminder
- Learning to use allowance wisely
Of course my 9-year-old can do all of these things. My version of this list had the words “Help with” before every one of these jobs before today, like “HELP WITH operating the washer and dryer”.
Alyson’s article was an eye opener for me.
Help out around the house. Not earn an allowance. Help out. I was stuck in the “I will do it myself” cycle when the kids were willing and able help. I admit I did it to myself. No one ever said, “Shannon, you shall be responsible for your families laundry… forever.”, if they did I probably would have bopped them on the nose.
As soon as the party was over I asked Miss T (who is home sick today) to pick out one of the laundry baskets to be her very own. Next she chose the Sharpie color she likes best to write her name on the basket (thank you @Miss_Elles for this great idea!! You can see our conversation HERE). She was then off to her room to gather her laundry. I taught her how to use the washer and dryer. Honestly, it’s an easy push POWER then push START for both appliances. I lowered the detergent from the top shelf, an old habit from when I had BABIES who would try to EAT IT, and taught her how to measure it out. I am not sure what I was paranoid about.
I will admit that there was a little bit of moaning and groaning, it may have been her sickie self, but she managed to get it all done. I thanked her and told her it was a big help to me and I appreciated her help. Miss T declared that she still did not want to do her own laundry but we laughed when I asked her if it was too hard to do. She said “NO!”. Clearly she can do more than her usual job of feeding the dog and I am ready to let her do it.
Why have I always done these things? I think I may have been just in the habit of it. Well no more! This momma is done doing other people’s laundry.