In our new apartment we have our dining table in our kitchen. Our kitchen is huge and fits our large table just fine. In fact there’s even still room to run around it, as long as the chairs are pushed in. It’s actually pretty awesome. It then frees up the “dining room” space for just space. It’s generally used as our dance floor. With the dining table right in the kitchen I feel like there is no excuse anymore for not teaching my four year olds kids how to properly take care of their dirty dishes after a meal. They only have to go a few feet. So, thanks to a clean/dirty dishwasher sign, a chore chart, and a little teaching, I am teaching my kids how to load the dishwasher and even use Finish dishwasher detergent, and start it too! I am happy that we now have a much cleaner dining table… most of the time.
For most of the last year, we have had our daughters clear the table when they are done with their meals. But, all that meant was that the plates, bowls, and utensils went to clutter the kitchen counters instead of our table. Which ultimately meant I still had to clean up all the mess. So, my husband and I decided to teach them how to properly empty their dishes, load the dishwasher, and even run it.
Teaching Kids How to Load the Dishwasher
1. Clear the Table
Once your child is done eating, they should remove their dishes from the table. If they have any food left, determine with them if it is worth saving or not. If it is, help them put it in a container for the fridge. If the food is not leftover quality, then show them how to scrape their dishes into trash or the proper, garbage-disposal, sink.
2. Open the dishwasher
Depending on if the dishwasher is clean or empty, which is easy to know thanks to the Clean/Dirty dishwasher sign I made (It’s a FREE Printable), they will either leave their dishes in the sink or on the counter or put them in the dishwasher. Hopefully, it’s “dirty” so that they can open it and start loading it up!
3. Load the Dishwasher
Every dishwasher is different, and where you put things in yours will be different than where I put things in mine. And I don’t know the best way of loading the dishwasher for optimal cleaning. However, you explain the following, regardless of what dishwasher you have:
- Don’t put plates right behind another plate or the one behind won’t get cleaned. There has to be a space between them.
- Silverware goes in the bottom caddy.
- Put dishes near similar dishes – bowls behind bowls, plates behind plates, cups behind cups.
4. Close the Dishwasher
This is important. Kids need to know that they have to slide the racks back into the dishwasher before they close the door. Not doing this could result in broken dishes, dishes getting jumbled together so they don’t get cleaned properly, and it also makes a frightful noise. Do not just lift up the door kids!
Teaching Kids How to Run a Dishwasher
1. Open the Finish Dishwasher Detergent Packet
We have been using Finish dishwasher detergent for quite a while. The main reason? Because I have scored some amazing deals on them and they do a great job cleaning our dishes. Not only do Finish products go on great sales, but I also get great coupons to use on them as well. In fact, right now until the end of October, Wal-Mart has a Rollback on Finish Quantum Power & Free products, which can be combined with coupons! It’s my favorite way to stockpile. Which I totally did, even using a high-value competitor’s coupon and other coupons I had. You can get a coupon too! Just click on the image below!Some of the Finish Powerball products come individually wrapped. I taught the girls how to open them; you grab the end with your thumbs and pointer fingers, and then pull one hand forward and the other hand, backward. We need to keep working it, but they’ll get it since it’s super easy.
2. Put the Dishwasher Detergent into the Proper Spot
My kids had already seen where I put the Finish dishwasher detergent into the dishwasher and they were excited to put it in there and close the lid on it.
3. Lock the Dishwasher
Some dishwashers don’t have a lock lever, but ours does! I taught the girls how to pull it closed. And it took a little extra oomph on their part.
4. Start the Dishwasher
This one is a little tricky for little kids, because you need to turn it just enough and not too far. While I taught them how to turn it, and which wash setting to put it at (normal), I will be likely supervising this step for a while yet.
I love my daughters are getting more dependable. They usually remember to the very least clear the table, and I know with some gentle prodding they will soon be loading the dishwasher regularly, and maybe even help run and start it with Finish too.
How and when did you teach your children to put their dishes in the dishwasher, and not just in the sink or counters?
You may also enjoy these posts:
- FREE Dishwasher Clean Dirty Sign Printable
- 13 Fun Clean/Dirty Dishwasher Magnets
- How to Clean Dishwasher with a Steam Cleaner
- Best Way to Clean Inside Dishwasher and Keep It Clean
- How to Teach Kids to Load the Dishwasher
- How Young Kids Can Safely Unload the Dishwasher
- 17 Best Baking Soda Uses for Cleaning Your Kitchen
- 10 Ways to Use Baking Soda for Bathroom Cleaning
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