Making memories in the kitchen can get messy, really messy. When I cook with my kids (and even sometimes by myself), there’s a good chance there’s going to be dry ingredients on the floor, something spilled on the countertop, a sink full of dishes and an overflowing trash bin. But when we work together, cleanup is a breeze. Here are some ways your kids can help with cleaning up the mess!
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Put Away Ingredients
After preparing our food, my kids and I always start with clearing off the counters. That includes putting away any ingredients that we used in our dish – seasonings, sauces, extra pasta, etc. I help with ingredients that need to go in higher cabinets, but the kids can easily put away refrigerator items and lower drawer items, themselves.
We also take this time to throw away any trash that we may have left on the counters, in our hurry to eat.
Load/Unload the Dishwasher
One of my kids’ favorite ways to help clean the kitchen is loading and unloading the dishwasher. All three of them get involved. My oldest will do a quick tour of the home to make sure we have all the dirty dishes.
While rinsing the dishes of food before they go in the dishwasher, my toddler likes to stand on the step stool, playing in the water. You have to start somewhere, right?
And my preschooler likes to help me organize the dishes in the dishwasher.
Loading the dishwasher is always a game of Tetris, one my daughter and I play together. Will everything fit, or are we going to have to hand wash some of the dishes? With a 24″ width, room for up to 16 place settings and a flexible third rack, the Bosch 800 Series Dishwasher with CrystalDry makes the game a little easier.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had taller food storage containers not fit in the dishwasher, so this feature is a major plus. The RackMatic® adjustable upper rack easily adjusts to 9 different positions, allowing taller items to fit, and still leaving room for bulky items below.
Unloading the dishwasher is also a task that has all of my kids’ hands on deck, even the smallest one. They each grab dish after dish, and before I know it, the dishwasher is empty. The EasyGlide™ racks in the Bosch 800 Series Dishwasher with CrystalDry, make even the heaviest rack of dishes easy for the kids to slide out.
Plus, with PrecisionWash and patented CrystalDry™ technology, the dishwasher delivers a sparkling clean and gives every dish an ultimate dry. I never have to worry about the kids pulling out dishes that are still dirty.
The Precision Wash technology employs intelligent sensors that continually scan and check the progress of dishes throughout the cycle, so the powerful spray arms can target any spots that need more attention. The CrystalDry technology then transforms moisture into heat up to 176°F for the ultimate dry, delivering 60% better drying results.* We couldn’t wash them any better by hand!
Put Away the Clean Dishes
All of those clean dishes the kids just unloaded from the dishwasher? Have them put away as many as they can. We keep our pots, pans and over-sized bowls in a lower cabinet, so the kids always put those away.
Then they stack the clean cups and plates for me to put away, since they go in higher cabinets. Or, if my oldest is feeling extra helpful, he’ll pull out their step stool and put those away too. Sorting and putting away the silverware is also a great task for kids.
Wipe Down Surfaces
After we’ve cleared the countertops and taken care of the dishes, it’s time to wipe down any dirty surfaces. Obviously, the countertops need a good wiping down and sometimes we even need to clean spills that may have dripped down the oven door or cabinet doors. I usually give the kids a few Lysol wipes and let them go to town. Sometimes I even catch my toddler randomly pulling out baby wipes and walking around the kitchen, wiping the cabinet doors. But hey…I’ll take it!
Take Out the Trash
Last, but not least, is taking out the trash. This is my oldest son’s responsibility. Quite honestly, the more he does it, the less often I have to ask him to. He has gotten into a routine that after we’ve been cooking in the kitchen and finished cleaning up, he checks to see if the trash bin is full (the recycling too). If it is, he takes it out.
These are just a few of the ways kids can help clean up after making memories in the kitchen. I live by the rule – If you help make the mess, you help clean it up. Do your kids already help with cleanup? Do they help with any of these tasks? What would you add to the list?
Just remember, when everyone works together, even the messiest of cleanups is made easier, so keep making memories in the kitchen!