Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dishes, dishes, and more dishes!

One of the issues we're having in my house at the moment is dishes. We are going through two dishwasher loads a day and we still have dishes left in the sink. It's out of control!! So I am trying a new trial run dish system. Each one of my girls will get one set of designated dishes a day. After each snack or meal they are to immediately hand wash them themselves. That way their dishes are clean at all times. The only dishes that will be put in the dishwasher will be for J (age 16 mos), my husband's, and my dishes, as well as dishes used for the meal preparation. My four other girls V (12 yr), A (9 yr), C (7 yr), and O (3 1/2 yr) will be responsible for their own. Dish washing is great Montessori activity that preschoolers, like my O, love to do. It teaches them a practical life skill and  gives them a sense of responsibility. I got this idea from a blog I read one time. I thought the idea sounded great but at that point dishes weren't a problem for us. They are now!

We already had a plan in place for drinking glasses. With as many kids as I have, the amount of cups left unclaimed on the counter can be headache. And since no one knows whose cup is whose, they grab a new one from the cabinet. So we put name tags on the counter with each persons name.

Each person gets a fresh cup at the start of the day. After each use they are to put their cup by their name and that's where it is to be kept, reusing the same cup throughout the entire day. This has been a great help in cutting back on our cup usage and keeping the cups in order. Only every once in a while do I have to reprimand one of them for not following the rule, usually they're good about it.

For the dishes I labeled some old plates and bowls with their names so that there is no confusion on which plate belongs to who and so forth. The dishes for the time being can be kept on the drying rack until needed and returned to it after being washed. Nothing fancy for this trial run. If the system works out, then I will purchase some new color coded dish sets for each girl and rearrange my dish cabinet to have a permanent place for them. But until I know it's worth the effort, this is good enough.

Hopefully, this solves our dish problem. . . and our dishwasher gets a much deserved rest!