Encourage your child to think like a child
Every child needs life skills.
In their eagerness to become independent by leaving home to discover what the big wide world has to offer, they also discover that there is no one to cook, clean, do laundry and iron their clothes. There is also the garbage, because maintenance, stretching your money until the next payday, finding a place to live and selecting the best roommates.
Some things your child has to learn on the go, other things can be learned at home at an early age with the help of mom and dad.
It’s all about helping your child learn to iron.
Unless they aspire to be street kids or fall on their wealthy feet and land a big paying job as soon as they leave home and can afford a personal ironer, they need to know how to iron to keep their clothes looking good.
The most important criteria in this exercise are both YOUR ATTITUDE to iron and YOUR ABILITY to teach them to iron.
YOUR ATTITUDE. If you hate ironing and always complain about it, don’t bother. It will not work. You can’t teach someone a skill if you hate doing it yourself.
HIS ABILITY TO TEACH. If you are impatient and moody, don’t bother. You can’t teach if you can’t inspire.
I assume you have both an interest and a desire to help your son.
So, let’s go.
What you will need.
1. It is always useful to have the ability to remember what it was like as a child.
2. Patience. lots. Remember when you were a child and you learned to ride a bike. How many times did you fall before you finally mastered the skill and took off on your own?
3. Sense of humor. It goes a long way toward diffusing a tense moment. Once again, remember when you were a child. Learning a skill like tying shoelaces seemed beyond her grasp. My mother laughed when I tied both shoes and couldn’t move. Her laughter assured me that this was a mistake that didn’t really matter.
4. The ability to correct your mistakes in a positive way. This is a difficult question because parents are so used to constantly correcting their children to do better; and they are not always aware that their manners are abrupt, abrupt and unsympathetic.
For example. A local shopkeeper had his two pre-teenage children in his store for the afternoon. All I heard while I was there was, “…No, you can’t touch that. No, don’t do that. That’s not the way I want you to stack those items.” Is that how you want to be talked to? I do not think. So keep that kind of conversation out of the learning experience.
A better way to approach it is to let your child know that what they have done is not right. Yes, they need to know if they’ve done something wrong. But tell them that with practice, you will know that they will be better than you. That is correcting, reassuring and inspiring them with just a few words.
5. Don’t expect too much too soon. Ironing is not rocket science. Your son will not fail in life if he does not master the ironing skills of a professional valet, butler or master tailor. You are teaching them a skill that will help them conquer the domestic requirements of their life. That’s all they need.
What is the right age to teach your child to iron? Between 8 and 10 years old. I learned to iron at the age of 8.
There’s a good reason to start so early. The most important is that your son is still in love with you. This is the ‘pre-hormone raging’ era where you are still up there with God in your eyes. They have not yet devised a plan to obstruct your parental authority, they become sullen, withdrawn and want to be anywhere, as long as it is not with you!
This is the age when your child still likes to do things with you. Hanging out with mom and dad is still a part of her life.
Read anyone’s memoirs and their best childhood memories are from that age, when a loving parent taught them something. Whether it was learning to fish or learning to sew, her great joy was in hanging out with Mom or Dad and doing adult things with them.
Ironing is an ‘adult thing’.
The best introduction is to have your child help with the laundry. Not alone, but together, with you. Make this an opportunity to gossip and have a little fun together. This benefits both of you. Folding laundry can become a social occasion for you and your child.
The next step is to introduce them to irony. Again with you. Remember, this is dating mom and dad stuff. Starting with bandanas is always safe. And so the whole family finally gets ironed handkerchiefs! Cloth napkins are also safe, as are tea towels, pillowcases, anything straight that can be quickly ironed. Finishing speed is the criteria here. Nothing too difficult to scare them.
And get them their own mini board and mini iron. So they can go to your side.
I hear you laugh and clear your throat. With contempt, no less.
Why not? You’ve spent billions of dollars so far on their toys. You have also spent how much (?) money on a variety of useless items for them. Why not spend some money on tools for a skill they pick up in adulthood? who helps you with some of your homework; and allows you to spend quality time with your child doing something together?
This is a new approach, isn’t it?
But think about it. Go back to when you were a child. At 8 or 10 years old, objects are still too big. A mini board, a mini iron, are just the right size for a child. Sort of like Goldilocks finding the right bed to sleep in. And it belongs to them. Tool ownership can lead to skill ownership.
Helping your child learn to iron is more than just pulling out the ironing board, handing him the iron, placing him on a stool, and telling him to “go.” It’s all about motivating and inspiring them to get started.
And that’s all about you.
This is how many men and women learn to do things. On the knees of their loving parents.
So go to it. The best thing for your child is to be successful.
This is the first in a series of articles on Helping Your Child Learn to Iron.