Most moms want their kids to help out more around the house. One of the best ways I have found to get our kids more involved in household chores is to teach them how to do the job correctly. When kids know how to do a job, they are more likely to feel successful and put up less of a fight when asked to help. One task that was always off limits to my kids was the dishwasher. I just felt like my kids were too young to help with it. But I discovered that there are lots of ways they can help with this chore. These tips to teach kids to use the dishwasher can even be used with small children. If you are looking for more ways to get kids involved in helping around the house check out Transitions to Independence for Kids.
Tips to Teach Kids to Use the Dishwasher
1. Show them where things go.
Start with an empty dishwasher and add some dirty things show them where the items go. Everyone loads their dishwasher differently, but no matter what your system, you have certain spots for certain items. Our bowls always go on the top middle rack and our kids now know this.
2. Clean as you go.
Rather than accumulating a sink full of dirty dishes, which is unsightly as well as stinky, have kids put plates and cups in the dishwasher when they are done with them. No one leaves the kitchen until the table is cleared and things are put in the appropriate part of the dishwasher. This helps keep loading from becoming overwhelming for everyone.
3. Keep kids' items on a low shelf.
If you have young children, then they may have their own unbreakable plates and cups that they use. If that is the case, storing those items on low shelves will help kids with unloading the dishwasher. I taught my kids to remove their items from the dishwasher and stack them according to type. Once they make a stack of 4-6 items they return them to the appropriate shelf.
4. Decide which items are off limits.
Depending on the age of your child, there may be certain items that they don't load or unload from the dishwasher. In our house with five and six year olds, those items are knives and breakable plates and cups. Determine what items are off limits and communicate that clearly to your child.
What chores do your kids do around the house? Do they ever use the dishwasher?
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