Folding laundry is a fun time in my family. Weird, huh? I always hear people complain about laundry, but I guess I don't have enough kids yet or big enough kids yet that it is overwhelming for me. Or maybe I just don't wash things enough! I do one load a day 3 or 4 times a week. (Not counting those small quick loads where someone has leaked onto their clothes and they need to go right into the wash). Doing it this way, putting a load in just becomes part of my morning routine and it never gets overwhelming.
In the late afternoon, in that time period before I need to start getting dinner ready and when the kids are starting to get tired, we all go upstairs with a basket of clean laundry to Mom & Dad's bedroom. I dump the clothes on the bed, and the kids all climb onto the bed with all the clothes. (Note: I rarely buy clothing that needs to be ironed.) They run around on and jump off the bed while we do the little rhyme of "Five little monkeys swinging in a tree, teasing Mr. Crocodile". I pretend to be Mr. Crocodile and "snap" them off the bed in a hug. It's so much fun, that it makes folding laundry (which comes after the rhyme, while they're jumping off the bed onto the pillows on the floor) so much more bearable. They even ask if they can go to Swinging Monkeys. Granted, they're not folding all the laundry for me, but they see me doing it, and the older ones will try to find their clothes in the pile and even attempt folding them all by themselves. I keep hoping also that this is one of those things that if I don't make it seem like a horrible chore to do, they'll be more willing to help with it or do it themselves as they get older. More of the "spoonful of sugar" helping the medicine go down, I guess!
I've found that the answer to many problems with my children is "read a book". If my children are fighting, I'll say, "Why don't we read some books." If we have time before bedtime but need to keep things calm, "Let's get our library books out." If we're waiting for dinner or lunch to be ready, "Let's read some books until the timer goes off." If I'm too tired to do anything that requires any effort, "Why don't you bring me a book to read." Even if one of them says they don't want to read a book, if I start reading aloud, they wander in and start listening.
I really believe that reading is the answer to a lot of problems. Obviously there are educational benefits for my children if I read to them, but it's also just a lot of fun. We go to the library every week and get new books, and it's like buying new toys for my children. Sometimes we do get some of the same books over and over, but usually I know I only have to read a book over and over for a week. (This is especially comforting for some of the really poorly written or annoying children's books out there).
I used to limit the number of books to 2 or 3 for each child each time we went, but I decided I'd rather have them get 6 or 7 and read through them and decide whether it's a book they like or not. Thank goodness for the receipts the library prints that list all the books you have checked out. And thank goodness for the library. They've saved me thousands of dollars and lots of tears.