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How To Help Your Child Learn How To Iron-Part 1
Motivate your child by thinking like a child
Every child needs life skills.
In their excitement to become independent by leaving home to discover what the big wide world has to offer, they also find that they have no one to cook, clean, wash and iron their clothes. There is also garbage, car maintenance, stretching money until the next paycheck, finding a place to live and choosing the best roommates.
Some things your child has to learn on the jump, others you can learn at home at an early age with the help of mom and dad.
The point is to help your child learn to iron.
Unless they aspire to become street children or fall on their feet and get an important job with a huge salary once they leave home and can’t afford a personal iron, they need to know how to iron to keep their clothes looking good.
The most important criteria in this exercise are YOUR ATTITUDE towards ironing and YOUR ABILITY to teach them to iron.
YOUR ATTITUDE. If you hate ironing and grumble about it all the time, don’t bother. That won’t work. You can’t teach someone a skill if you hate it yourself.
YOUR ABILITY TO TEACH. If you are impatient and grumpy, again, don’t bother. You can’t teach if you can’t inspire.
I assume that you have an interest and a desire to help your child.
So let’s go.
What you will need.
1. It is always useful to have the ability to remember what it was like when you were a child.
2. Patience. Lots of. Think back to when you were little and learning to ride a bike. How many times did you fall before you finally mastered the skill and took off on your own?
3. A sense of humor. It goes a long way to diffuse a tense moment. Think back to when you were a kid. Learning skills like tying shoelaces seemed to elude you. My mother laughed when I tied both my shoes and I couldn’t move. Her laugh assured me that it was a mistake that really didn’t matter.
4. The ability to correct your mistakes in a positive way. This is difficult because parents are so used to constantly correcting their child to do better; and they do not always realize that their behavior is harsh, abrupt and hostile.
For example. A local merchant had their two pre-teen children in his shop for an afternoon. All I heard when I was there was, “…No, you can’t touch that. No, don’t. I don’t want you to stack those things like that.” Is this the way you want to be spoken to? I think not. So leave such talk out of learning.
A better way to approach this is to let your child know that what they have done is not right. Yes, they need to know if they did something wrong. But tell them that with practice you know they will be better at it than you. It corrects, soothes and inspires them with just a few words.
5. Don’t expect too much too soon. Ironing is not a rocket science. Your child will not fail in life unless he can master the ironing of a professional butler or butler or master tailor. You are teaching them skills that will help them overcome the domestic demands of their lives. That’s all they need.
What is the right age to teach your child to iron? Between 8th and 10th year. I learned to iron when I was 8.
There is a good reason to start so early. The most important thing is that your child is still in love with you. This is the “before raging hormones” era where you are still up there with God in their eyes. They have not yet devised a plan to resist your parental authority, become sullen, withdrawn and want to be anywhere but with you!
This is the age when your child still likes to do things with you. Meeting mom and dad is still a part of their lives.
Read someone’s memoir and their fondest childhood memories are from that age when they were taught something by a loving parent. Whether it was learning to fish or learning to sew, their pure joy was hanging out with mom or dad and doing grown-up things with them.
Ironing is a “grown-up thing”.
The best introduction is to get your child to help with the laundry. Not alone, but together with you. Take the opportunity to chat and have some fun together. This will benefit both of you. Folding laundry can turn into a social occasion for you and your child.
The next step is to introduce them to ironing. Again with you. Remember, this is spending time with mom and dad. It’s always safe to start with tissues. And this way the whole family finally gets ironed handkerchiefs! Cloth napkins are also safe, as are tea towels, pillowcases, anything straight that can be ironed quickly. Speed in completion is the criterion here. Nothing heavy to intimidate them.
And get them their own mini cutting board and mini iron. So they can iron directly at your place.
I can hear you laughing and hooting. With contempt, no less.
Why not? You’ve spent a million dollars on their toys so far. You also spent how much (?) money on various useless items for them. Why not spend some money on tools for a skill they will acquire as adults; who will help you with some of your household chores; and does it allow you to spend some time with your child doing activities together?
That’s a new approach, isn’t it?
But think about it. Go back to when you were a kid. At 8 or 10 years old, objects are still too big. A mini cutting board and a mini iron are just the right size for a child. Kind of like Goldilocks finding the right bed to sleep in. And she belongs to them. Owning tools can lead to owning a skill.
Helping your child learn to iron is more than pulling out the ironing board, handing them the iron, standing them on a stool and telling them to go. It’s 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 his loving parents.
Go for it. It is in your child’s best interest to succeed.
This is the first in a series of articles on how to help your child learn to iron.
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