My husband and I recently came to the conclusion that our children are old enough to help more around the house. This largely came about because the house is never clean, but also because they need something to do besides reading Harry Potter and begging to play the Wii. We’ve given them a variety of small chores, and then they are all required to help with the dishes after each meal.
Unfortunately my dishwasher is currently in retirement due to the fact it was extremely temperamental and turned on and off at will. I’m crossing my fingers that my Birthday Santa will bring me a new one soon for my birthday, but in the meantime we are doing dishes the old-fashioned way. It was super exciting the first time I let my kids wash the dishes, you know because they were big and responsible enough to handle such a job:) Now it’s just old, so I’ve been coming up with fun things to do while we clean the dishes together so it is a happy experience and a great memory instead of daily torment.
Here are some of our favorites:
Sink Improv: I call out a situation like, “You just saw the Eiffel tower for the first time” or “You are throwing a fit at the grocery store because Mom didn’t let you have a lollipop.” They have to instantly go into character and start acting and talking like they are in that situation. I fill in where needed and we have fun until it starts to slow down and then we start a new situation. It’s super fun, and they have a chance to act outrageous and it’s ok.
Dish Time Story: It’s an oldie but goodie, Kids love stories! Sometimes I tell them and sometimes we read them. We do Aesop’s Fables, Bible stories or anything else they love. We also sometimes have a special library book for “dish time only.” One child gets the chance to read the book out loud while the rest of us do dishes and listen. If we haven’t finish the book when the dishes are done it gives them something to look forward to after the next meal is over.
I Spy Dishes: This game is your basic I Spy, except you are describing dishes. You have to be a little creative to be tricky enough to keep them from guessing the dishes right away. For example, “This dish has a small chip on one side,” or “This dish has red food on it,” ect. It’s a great way to work your brain a little bit, talk to your kids and get the chores done at the same time.
Silly Songs with Dishes: If you are the kind of person that doesn’t take life too seriously this could be a great game for you. We absolutely love making up weird random songs, that sometimes rhyme, make very little sense and are usually funny. We usually take a simple tune that we already know and then just make up our own words. There really is no way to do this wrong. Just go with it and have fun.
Dish Drama: Sometimes our sink turns into a grand theatre with all of the dishes playing various parts in some great drama. We have the dragon chasing the villagers and a knight in shining armor saving them all from the foamy flames or we try to rescue all of the silverware by ferrying them over the raging river (the rinse sink) on a boat (a plate) before the cups pouring water over the top can sink the boat. There are endless options. This can end up taking much longer than a normal dish run, but it’s worth it on occasion for the excitement and creativity.
However you choose to do your dishes, I hope you have some fun!!