When it comes to doing chores, a household runs more smoothly if the whole family is involved. I made sure that my daughter was involved in helping with laundry before she could walk. As I folded laundry I would play peek-a-boo with her using the different pieces of clothing. As we played I would name the different articles of clothing and tell her what color they were. As she grew I started giving her responsibilities of her own. Here are some ideas on how to involve your child with laundry.
Get your toddler involved in laundry from the very beginning of the process. When dirty clothes come off make it your child's responsibility to get those clothes to the laundry hamper. But be prepared! While tossing clothes into a basket may seem like a fun game to your toddler, dumping it all back out and trying again will be too! Be ready when the task is completed to redirect your toddler's attention to another activity so that the clothes in the hamper stay in the hamper.
If you have a front-loading washing machine, make it your toddler's job to load the clothes (your back will thank you). Sort out what you want and toss it on the floor in front of the washer and let your little one do her thing! This works great with socks, washcloths, kids clothes, etc. You may have to provide some assistance with larger things like towels and adult jeans. Toss in the laundry detergent (a mommy job) and show you toddler which button to push.
Washer's a top loader? Consider setting up a play washing-machine for your toddler. While she's not actually doing chores, you are exposing her to what actually goes into washing the laundry and she will mimic you.
Safety Note: Be sure that all laundry detergent, fabric softener, bleach, etc is up out of your toddler's reach. Use caution storing it on top of the machine. As the washer vibrates the containers may be jostled around and fall over the edge. Limit access to the laundry room to times when an adult is present. In addition to dangerous accidents that can happen when children are unsupervised, you may find your washer cleaning a onesie and hand-towel with no soap!
Once the laundry is clean you can task your toddler with simple jobs such as putting all the socks in one basket so you can match them later. If your child is pre-school aged you can use this as an opportunity to practice matching or simple folding, such as folding washcloths.
At this point I find it is best to send my toddler off to play. Otherwise, she will decide she is Godzilla stomping through a laundry city. Not a pretty site!
Once you've finished folding it's time to call your toddler back to help put things away. I recommend banding together toddler outfits to protect your hard work. We make this job fun by filling up my daughter's dump truck with socks and outfits so she can 'drive' them over to her dresser. If your child has wagon you can do the same thing. I follow her to her room and open a drawer so she can start tossing things in.
It's important to keep in mind that when you're working with a toddler that sometimes achieving 'good enough' is a huge achievement!
How do you involve your toddler in doing laundry?