If you dread going to the laundromat because the kids will be with you, I can completely understand. First of all, kids are unique individuals with minds all their own. But you are entirely responsible for what they do.
So, while you are focused on getting the clothes into the washer, Johnny is just as quickly putting someone else’s clean clothes onto the floor. And – if that isn’t enough, Noah is coloring on the walls of the laundromat.
Before you even get your first load into the washer, you are exhausted. Not to mention, all of your laundromat neighbors are giving you nasty looks and head shakes. Sound familiar?
While I’ve witnessed the well-meaning parents who let their kids do whatever makes them happy, it’s only temporary. In the end, that happiness can be quickly ruined by an angry person who just got a rock through their windshield or a crying kid who just wiped out on the laundromat floor. Cussing, screaming, crying and a general state of unhappiness is usually the end result.
What if instead of making your kids superficially happy at someone else’s expense you put their little hands to work doing something worthwhile. As a result, you will have help, and they will be really, truly happy because they did something worthwhile. And I’m not talking about sticking their little learning faces in front of a cell phone video.
Make A Big Deal
Be intentional with your kids, and give them IMPORTANT tasks of doing things like loading the washer or dryer for you. It’s something that they can do, and if you make a big deal of the good deed that they are doing then you may just give them a hunger to do more. A win-win for sure!
Let Them Be Kids
Kids love money and digital things. You could give them the very big and sacred task of holding onto the laundry card or the coins. Give them the privilege of helping you load the washer. Once loaded, have them insert the laundry card or coins with your help of course. The key is to LET them be a part of what you do and allow them to see how important each task is.
Make The Laundromat Fun
Folding and sorting is the part of the laundromat visit that you just can’t do with a machine. So why not include the kids, show them fun and cool ways to fold things. Depending on their age assign them suitable tasks. Give them easy things to sort, but be specific so that they are not confused.
Make it a party, my mom was the best at this. She made everything into a party, and whether pulling weeds, picking beans, folding laundry or sweeping the floor there was always sure to be a celebration at the end. We knew that by helping her, we would get to have something fun for dinner or could watch our favorite movie. As long as I can remember we knew how to work, and had specific chores that were all our own responsibility.
She instilled in us that a spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine go down. Her favorite saying was, if we all work together it will only take a few minutes. And while it’s very true that many hands make light work, we still were certain that a few minutes may have been an exaggeration. But she made work a fun thing to do together, and in turn, raised a bunch of hard-working kids.
I encourage you to give your kids the benefit of learning how to do something valuable with their hands, something besides scrolling through your iPhone. Teach them to help, and turn your next laundromat visit into a positive one that you will all look forward to.