Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Monkey See, Monkey Do ... Washing Dishes
When I was little, my parents worked opposite shifts and so I was always with one of them. They had lots to do, so I had playtime, but lots of times, my playtimes were with them, doing what they were doing, in a little kid kind of way. I saw what they were doing, I wanted to do it, too, and so they adapted their activities for me. When Dad painted the house, I proudly brushed on water from my Smurf bucket. When Mom ran the sweeper, I ran my pink plastic one right beside her. I learned how to do lots of things that way.
My kids are the same. They want to be close to us, helping us, doing what we're doing, and so whenever possible, I modify the activity so that they can do it beside me. One of my son's favorites is dishwashing.
Sound strange? Maybe on the surface, but what kid doesn't like a sink full of soapy water and free license to play?
Before beginning, I clean both sinks. I fill the left side with hot, soapy water and the right side with just an inch or two of lukewarm water. Then, as I rinse the dishes I wash, that water adds to the kids' sink and gives them more.
I grab a few dishes out of the kids' play kitchen for them to manipulate. They love to wash and pour!
Then I take my time washing dishes and scrubbing down counters, because my son would happily play there all day!
My son will probably one day no longer love the task of washing dishes - but by then he will not be able to claim ignorance - and hopefully his future wife will thank me. :-)
** Note: He is now almost four and can reach well by standing on a regular kitchen chair. With me right beside him, I feel he is quite safe. When he was younger, I put a bath towel on the floor underneath with a basin of water. At that time I gave him play spoons or other manipulatives that could hold a minimum of water to prevent massive spills, and he was just as happy - only closer to the ground.