For the first lesson in The School Of Mom, I cut right to the heart of what I need help with the most: dishes. I do a big load in the dishwasher every day. If I slack at all, we drown immediately in dirty dishes.
The level of enthusiasm for this lesson was pretty low… So I bargained with my older boy to earn video game time upon completion of his first School Of Mom lesson, and that got the ball rolling.
Having the dishwasher emptied and ready to load would be a big help to my day, so I focused more on the unloading of the dishwasher to start off with.
I am working with the short attention spans of my 8-year-old and a toddler, almost 3. So I didn’t waste any time and got right down to business.
They pretty much know where everything is at this point, as far as silverware and bowls and pots and pans, so they took everything out of the dishwasher, and I supervised and gave pointers on how I put them in the drawers and cabinets so they all fit. I let my oldest remove the knives, and I showed him how to carefully handle them and put them in the block.
Toddler task: My toddler’s job was to get all of the plastic bowls and cups from the top drawer and hand them to big brother to put away in the cabinet. He was also in charge of bringing any cups or snack bowls from the living room to be washed in the next load.
After everything was put away, I had them sit on the floor so they could see, and I explained to them how the dishwasher works. I showed them the spinny jets and talked about how important it is to position dishes so that the water reaches them to get them clean.
I’m starting to lose their attention at this point, so I had them watch up close while I loaded the dishwasher with a fresh load so they can see how I do it and learn the best positioning (I had to watch myself because I tend to cram as much in there as I can.)
I showed them where the detergent goes, and how to turn the dishwasher on.
And I also explained why we keep the detergent tabs sealed and up on a high shelf, because the chemicals are very dangerous if the tabs break open.
What I learned: This really was a special time for us to spend together. Though the big one dragged his feet at first, I think he really liked me taking the time to really explain things and he was eager to help after that. And the little one felt important because he had a job too. I also like to think he’s absorbing more than I think he is.
I know it’s easier to just do things yourself sometimes, and it can be a hassle as the kids learn, but I’m glad that I took this time to show them how to work the dishwasher. I think it gives them more of an appreciation for what I do. And I look forward to the help!
Stay tuned, a future lesson will be how to wash and dry dishes by hand, since not every home has a dishwasher. I will tell them to pretend we are at Meemaw’s house. She’s still holding out on that technology 🙂