J is becoming more and more involved in helping around the house. He already helps put away his sippy cups and even thinks its a fun game (see this post)! I’ve recently started allowing him to replace the utencils too.
I sit J down with the basket of clean utencils and the utencil tray. Of course I first remove the knives! His job is to replace the clean utencils in the correct section of the tray. This is actually great practice with matching that really incorporates size recognition since he has to detect the difference in the small and large forks as well as the small and large spoons. He doesn’t get it right everytime, but he is improving.
I used to just have him hand me the clean utencils from the dishwasher and I would place them in the drawer myself. When I read this post from Children’s Learning Activities, I realized he could easily complete the entire task himself!
By the way, it is also his job to place the dirty utencils in the basket to be placed in the dishwasher. I rinse them off first and he takes care of the rest! He feels like he’s accomplished something to help mommy and I didn’t have to bend over again and again to reach the dishwasher!
Age attempted: I don’t really remember when he started helping with the utencils, probably around 13 months; he started returning them to the utencil drawer himself at 22 months.
Teachable moments: We’ve talked about the difference in dirty and clean, why we have to clean our used dishes, the size of the different utencils, and of course working together as a family to help around the house!