Let Your Toddler Do The Dishes! - Little Learning Lovies
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Let Your Toddler Do The Dishes!

Little Learning Lovies Contributor Cindy shares with us today how she totally rocks this Mommy gig by letting her toddler do the dishes!  Will you let yours?

Let Your Toddler Do The Dishes

Little miss is frequently in the kitchen with me.

I joke that she’s going to know how to cook by time she’s two.

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As much as I love having her around, sometimes I just need to get stuff done…like that sink full of dishes.  A couple of months ago, our dishwasher broke and we’re saving up for a new one. Until then, it’s me and my scrubby wand. I spend quite a bit of time in front of the sink so naturally, little miss is curious about what’s so fascinating.

If she only knew ;).

One day instead of trying to distract her, I decided to let her join in.


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I’m so glad I did.

She, like most toddlers, is naturally intrigued by water and bubbles – she adores her bath and swimming and playing in the dog bowl…really anything to do with water. (I’m so glad the “trying to play in the toilet” phase is over!)

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So why should you let your toddler wash the dishes?

It’s awesome sensory play

Water play is great for development in children of any age!

Mimicking skills is how they learn

I had a friend whose dad would constantly brush him away while working on the car and then was flabbergasted when this boy grew up to be a man who didn’t know anything about cars.  Really?

It’s quality time

Think about this for a minute: Would your toddler be happier in the kitchen playing with you, or in front of the TV? Which would you rather? Why not do life together – side by side, working on the same task. Okay, so you’ll be working and she’ll be playing but a child’s play IS her work!

[tweetthis]Would your toddler be happier in the kitchen playing with you, or in front of the TV? Which would you rather?[/tweetthis]

Here’s how…

  • Lower your expectations IMMEDIATELY! Yes, its going to be messy…
  • Lay down a beach towel in front of the sink and remember that children – and their clothes – are washable.
  • Let her at anything unbreakable. At the store, they sell play dishes, but why not use our own plastic ones…for FREE?!
  • Add soap bubbles and spatulas for extra fun.
  • Start when they can stand and reach on a sturdy chair. It goes without saying, you should not leave them unattended.

And would you believe it? I got all the dishes done with little interruption.

Tell us:  How do you encourage your little ones to get involved in life with you?

About the Author Cindy Rinna

Cindy Rinna is a full-time blogger and freelance writer as well as a wife and mom of four crazy and adorable children. You can read more from Cindy on her blog, My Life as a Rinnagade where she writes about educating her children, autism, ADHD & healthy living. Connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook and Google+.

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12 comments
How to Teach your Preschooler to Feed the Dog - Little Learning Lovies says 4 years ago

[…] you read my post about my daughter doing the dishes with me, you know I’m big on stuff like this.  As soon as my kids were able and interested, I’ve […]

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Valerie says 4 years ago

This was good for me to read I struggle with allowing my little ones help me in the kitchen or anywhere for that matter. lowering my expectations is the hardest part.The idea of trying to clean and then having to clean up behind their cleaning stresses me out. I do love the idea of having them with me instead of being in front of the tv. Having them learn valuable skills is a plus

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    Cindy Rinna says 4 years ago

    So true! It is hard to deal with the messes but it helps to keep perspective 🙂

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Judith says 4 years ago

These are such great tips! I had my children clearing their own dishes from the table as soon as they could walk. My 2 1/2 year old scrapes her own plate into the trash. Allowing them to help while they are little is so important.

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    Cindy Rinna says 4 years ago

    I agree, Judith!

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Jennifer J. says 4 years ago

Although my kids are not toddlers, they’re older, I enjoyed letting both of my boys help with dishes at that age. Now they both know how to cook lots of things.

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    Cindy Rinna says 4 years ago

    Jennifer, that’s my goal! I didn’t learn to cook until I was a grown-up but I knew how to bake because I spent time in the kitchen with my mom during holidays! I think the saying is true about more being “caught” than “taught” 😉

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Lisa Fetty says 4 years ago

She is sooo darling! You’re brave…I’m too chicken to have my 2 yr old help LOL

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    Cindy Rinna says 4 years ago

    Thanks, Lisa! I should mention she’s fourth in line so I’ve had some practice being brave! 🙂

    Reply
Let Your Toddler Do the Dishes! - My Life as a Rinnagade homeschool, autism, healthy living says 4 years ago

[…] visit me over at Little Learning Lovies and find out […]

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Ryan says 4 years ago

Little Miss is so cute! You have adorable children and your tips on raising parents is dully noted. I am an elementary school teacher and I appreciate you instilling good work ethic into your kids at an early age and engaging them in “fun learning experiences” instead of taking the easy way out and giving them the screen.

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    Cindy Rinna says 4 years ago

    Thank you, Ryan! It is an uphill battle with screens being so much a part of every day life, but I do try to limit them as much as I can and focus on people instead of things. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Reply
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