1. Pick the right time, when you are feeling patient and have over an hour to spare, everyone is in a good mood and the answer to "Would you like me to teach you how to iron?" is likely to be "Yes." Prima is eight years old and sensible, and I was feeling particularly "Little House on the Prairie"-ish. I, or, ideally, the King (who is a master ironer), will be passing on the skill to her brother at around this age, too.
3. Explain about the risks of using the iron and how you have burnt yourself on it in the past. (Everyone does burn themselves sooner or later and it does hurt but it isn't the end of the world; however, be very careful.) Show how easy it is to catch the tips of your fingers when holding the fabric of the garment taut, and show which parts of the iron are hot and remain hot for a while, even when unplugged.
4. Fill iron with water and plug it in.
5. Point out the instruction labels on garments, and show how to adjust the setting of the iron.
6. Show where to rest the iron when not using it (I called it "putting it back in its house") and explain what happens if the iron is left sitting on anything fabric. Switch iron on and let it get up to temperature.
7. Start with something simple like handkerchiefs - it doesn't really matter if these are creased - likewise, tea-towels and pillow-cases (I don't normally iron tea-towels, it was just to give Prima something to do). I showed Prima what to do, then stood behind her, holding her hand on the handle of the iron, then, when she was ready to try on her own, I stood several feet away rather than hovering over her. Once I knew she was confident and being careful, I went into the next room and pretended to be busy, still able to keep an eye on her.
8. Check with your child when he or she has had enough. Offer no criticism. Feel really proud of your helpful and careful child and make sure you remember to give praise. Do not now burden him or her with the ironing every week as this will be off-putting. It will not save you time, either (each hanky took about five minutes for Prima), but over the years, the skill will develop. Hopefully just in time for secondary school shirts.
Cash spent today: Nothing.
Random Awesome thing (from 1000 Awesome Things):#57 Taking all the free stuff from hotel rooms
Today I am grateful for: my husband choosing to end his working day in accordance with what fits for our family.