I’ve been asked a lot about how to teach kids to do jobs at home, so I’m rerunning this post.
I had no idea how many parents don't teach their children the most basic household chores. I'm at my son's soccer tournament, a place where there is so much downtime that his teammates' parents become best temporary friends rather quickly. These are all terrific people....well educated, hard working, loving parents. Yet, when we got into the discussion of our kids doing their own laundry, most admitted that their 15 and 16 year olds were clueless in this area.
That was surprising to me. Kids can and should learn how to do basic chores, including the laundry, making their beds, setting the table, taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, and even cooking an occassional meal. Eventually they will go off to college and get their own homes, and this stuff won't just come through osmosis.
How hard is doing laundry? You only need to show them how to separate out clothes the way you like to, find the appropriate settings, turn on the water and pour in the soap. There are many advantages to having your children helping out with the laundry....not only will it be an important lifelong skill, but when they become teenagers who insist that their "perfect" jeans or special new t-shirt mustn't shrink, they can take responsibility for hanging it up instead of throwing it in the dryer.
Parents need to teach their children how to survive on their own. There's enough stress for a kid when he goes away to school for the first time, learning how to care for himself shouldn't be a new experience.