You may think your child is rebellious, lazy, or possibly passive aggressive because unloading the dishwasher has turned into a battleground of epic proportions. Consider there could be other reasons for the reluctance to do this task. For example…
- The dishwasher didn’t get some or all of the dishes clean. Now the “simple” task of unloading the dishwasher has become not so simple.
- There is pooled water (possibly with grit in it) on the bottoms of the dishes. Ewwwww.
- There is not enough room in the cabinets to put the dishes away.
- The plastic tubs and lids are all over the place.
- You have to move 3 things to put something away.
- Even if your child stands on a stepstool, she still can’t reach all the way to the side or back of the cabinet.
- There are a bunch of dishes sitting out on the counter or in the sink because the dishwasher was full. Now after unloading the dishwasher she will need to do something with those dishes. (And some of them have to be practically washed before putting in the dishwasher.)
- She’s afraid of the steam that comes out of the dishwasher when she opens the door at the end of the cycle. She’s afraid to touch the hot dishes.
- She wants more of your attention than she’s getting, and while she would prefer positive attention, she’ll take negative attention, which she is sure to get if she doesn’t unload the dishwasher.
- You run the dishwasher at different times of the day, and she doesn’t have a consistent time when she knows she is supposed to complete the task.
One solution is to take the job back and do it yourself. Always run the dishwasher at night when you go to bed and get up 15 minutes earlier than the rest of the family so you can unload it. That way there’s no logjam in the kitchen when everyone is trying to get ready, etc. Or…
- Put all your plastic tubs and lids into a dishpan that your child can basically just throw the stuff into. This is easier than trying to properly nest the items. (Sometimes it would take an engineer a couple of minutes to figure out how to nest 35 plastic bowls and lids!) The dishpan idea also alleviates the need to reach all the way to the back of the cabinet because it acts like a deep pull-out drawer. Use this same idea for pot lids, mixing bowls, or anything else that requires more thought than just opening the cabinet door and placing an item on a shelf.
- Always run the dishwasher at the same time so that your child can unload it at the same time every day. It becomes part of your child’s routine instead of a moving target she can’t quite get ahold of.
- If your cabinets are crowded, move some of the seldom used items to more remote storage. Or just get rid of some stuff! Make sure there is room in your cabinets so that it is easy to put things away.
It makes sense to spend some time thinking about how to make sure this job gets properly and consistently done in your home, so things can run more smoothly and tempers are less likely to fray. You deserve to live in a peaceful home!