Helping Kids Work


Four year olds love to do chores, especially if the task involves a spray bottle of Windex, but another chore Eby likes is emptying the dishwasher. He is still “in training”, but nearly ready to manage it “on his own” which means having a helper close by.

In 1994 when we bought our first home in Broomfield, Colorado, my new friends came to help me unpack. As I began to put dishes away in an upper cupboard, Michele said, “Are you sure you want to put them up there?”

She pointed to a lower cupboard, “If you put them down here the kids will be able to empty the dishwasher.”

Lightbulb moment…I had never thought of that! Down into the lower cupboard went the plates, bowls, and plastic cups. Glasses and mugs remained in an upper cupboard due to space limitations. It worked great. The kids could empty the dishwasher with no help. The youngest ones stacked the glasses and mugs on the counter for me to put away, while the older ones got the footstool and put them in the upper cupboard. Another benefit was that the kids were able to set the table independently.

We moved to our current house in December of 1999 and I knew just where to put the dishes.

My friend, Signe, has limited cupboard space, so she stores many of her dishes in the large drawers in her kitchen. As a guest in her home, it is great to open a drawer and find it full of colorful Fiestaware. If I had time, I would zip over to her house and take a picture for you, but you’ll just have to imagine it.

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Dimples and Boo are eager for me to change the chore chart and officially turn much of the dishwasher responsibility over to Eby. With a little more practice, I think that will happen and he is going to be happy…at least for a little while.

Have a great start to your week. Mine is going to be wonderful because I finally got the bins of summer clothes neatly stored away. A ridiculous burden has been lifted off of me and I hope to never get this far behind again.

~Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Cat and Mark
    November 9, 2009

    Um, love it. We have been talking about making the kitchen more kid friendly, but just haven't gotten around to it. what a simple solution. Because otherwise we seem to be waiting on 5 kids left and right and that is, well, dumb. 🙂

    Reply
  2. neely
    November 9, 2009

    I moved all of our dishes last week…and thought of you and Michele!!

    Reply
  3. KT
    November 9, 2009

    What a great idea! Think I will do this, because Luke (5) SOOO badly wants to do the dishes, this way he could help!

    Reply
  4. Shonni
    November 9, 2009

    I love this idea…thank you.
    And I so understand the feeling of having the clothes up! What a job, huh?!

    Reply
  5. Mamita J
    November 9, 2009

    I never thought of that! What a great idea!

    Reply
  6. Jennifer
    November 9, 2009

    Thanks for the tip! With filipino children, it will be a long time before they are tall enough to reach the top cupboards.

    Reply
  7. Signe
    November 9, 2009

    I am so glad that you didn't come and take picutures in my kitchen. You forgot to mention the indestructable fiesta ware plates.

    Great post, and very helpful. Now if someone out there has a brilliant idea for how to allow 2-6 year olds to get their own cereal with out making a huge mess I want to hear it.

    Reply
  8. Jillian and Crew
    November 9, 2009

    All our kids have things they do to help out…recently when we went to a friend's house Morgan Yisak was SHOCKED to learn that kids in other families have jobs/chores also!
    Our kitchen isn't very kid friendly because of recent issues with stealing and hoarding, but laundry is an ENTIRE family job from sorting to loading to unloading to folding to hanging up…

    Reply
  9. coffeemom
    November 9, 2009

    Brilliant. I have tupperware and kiddy baby plates/sippys low…but I think this week might be a whole new rearranging…and a beginning to collect fiesta ware…is is light weight enough for little hands? We have some white plates that are lovely but so thick (think retro) that they are too heavy to carry for the smalls. Hmmmmm.

    Reply
  10. Thankfulmom
    November 9, 2009

    Isn't it great when we can share simple tips that help each other? I love it.

    Coffeemom (love your blog), Fiestaware isn't super heavy and it doesn't break easily. I wrote about it here:

    http://abushel-and-apeck.blogspot.com/2009/02/large-family-tips-setting-table.html

    Best of all, it goes on sale regularly at stores like Macys, and you can find it used on Ebay. Amazon has great prices too. The kids love the fun colors, although sometimes we set the table in all white and that is very pretty. The "luncheon plates" are the perfect size for the little ones.

    Lisa

    Reply
  11. Anonymous
    November 27, 2009

    I did this right after reading this! I love it! My older kids were a little set off because they had to help rearange the kitchen, and told me I had lost my mind, but guess who does not have to unload any more. they now see the light. Now the get to load the dishwasher! Hee Hee!

    Christine

    Reply

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