I am the mother of six children who eat three meals, drink at least 8 glasses of water and consume a million snacks. EVERY DAY! Let me translate exactly what that means; we use a LOT of dishes in our house. Not only that, but at the end of the day, I swear we have more dirty dishes in our sink than we had clean dishes to begin with.
I have done job charts with my kids and they have worked fabulously! But I really wanted to go one step farther than the job chart. I wanted my kids to learn how to take personal responsibility for their own messes regardless whether or not it was their “job.” (But we do still use a job chart for vacuuming, dusting, bathrooms, etc. ……..things that just get dirty over time)
So I decided to pack up ALL of the kid’s dishes except for one plate, one cup and one bowl each. I color coordinated them so that each child got one set color for their plate, cup and bowl. That was THEIR color, their dishes, their responsibility.
I sat them all down and explained that these were their dishes. They are in charge of making sure their dish gets washed after each meal so that they will have a dish for the next meal. And having them color coordinated helps all of us to see whose dish is whose. No one is to use someone else’s color. EVER! If your dishes are dirty, you had better wash them so you can eat.
I explained to them that my job is to make sure there is soapy water in the sink after each meal so that they can wash their dishes. If I forget to do that, I wash their dishes for them. (They really liked that part) I have found that if I get water in the sink BEFORE each meal that works best.
It is insane how nice this has worked to keep my kitchen clean and dirty-dish free!! Plus, my kids are learning at a young age how to take care of their own mess. I like that!