How To Get the Dishes Done with a Toddler

How to get the dishes done with a toddler

How to get the dishes done with a toddler

This weekend I was pressed for time as company was coming and there was a pile of dishes that had to get done before I could feel confident having someone see our home for the first time. I know, I know, don’t worry about the mess and live up the short and important time with your little one. However, I always feel this overwhelming urge to make everything look as nice as possible for people who don’t usually enter into my world of playnados and snackstorms (which ends up as far from anything in a home design magazine).

As hubby was busy mowing the “lawn” (we have a couple small strips of green amongst all the brown, dead grass), toddler Z wasn’t excited about playing by herself for a bit, and time was running out, I tried something a couple other friens had mentioned they do with their little ones. I pushed a chair over to the sink (which happenes to be a corner of our small kitchen space) and stood on the open side of little Z up on that chair, while we did the dishes together.

I filled up the sink with water that was a fair bit cooler than the zillion degree half-steam I usually like to use for my dishes (which is why they call me “Hothands Hannah”), so it would be a safe temperature for the wee one. As the bubbles frothed and the water rose, my little munchkin squealed with delight.

How to get the dishes done with a toddler

I tossed in all of her wood and plastic dishes, removing any sharp knives or other pointy and stabby dishes. I quickly washed these out of reach of my little one, scrubbing with the dishcloth over the other sink basin.

She immediately began scooping and inspecting the bubbles with one of her colorful plastic spoons. While she explored with water play, I washed the pile of dishes next to her in the sudsy sink.

Even though Z wasn’t interested in the actual washing of the dishes with a cloth I gave her, she was fully engaged with stirring, scooping, and pouring the water and bubbles. While there were a couple mis-pours that resulted in a wet shirt, chair and floor (Yay! Now those got a good washing, too!), I was impressed at how intently she focussed at keeping the water in the sink, and how successful she was at that.

How to get the dishes done with a toddler

So, to sum up, these are the reasons having Z join in on the dish washing experience was awesome, and why I will do this again:

  •  We’re spending valuable and enjoyable time together.
  • Being involved and “helping” me with chores gives her the opportunity to feel useful and proud to be a helper.
  • She’s learning so much about her world (new words, physics, properties of liquid water, fine motor skills, temperature, etc) through water play.
  • She’s learning about a useful life skill and the value of cleanliness.
  • I can get the dishes done, when they need done, without doing them during precious nap time.

All great points, in my eyes!

How to get the dishes done with a toddler

If you’re looking for more ideas for how to get things done by offering ways your little one can help out, check out these posts: I Get By with a Little Help from My Toddler and How to Make Life Easier with a Toddler.

How do you get your To-Do List done with little one(s) around? Comment below or put in your two cents on my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.

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