WFMW: Dishwasher Duty


I’ve mentioned before that emptying a dishwasher is my most dreaded job.  I pretty much HATE it.  That makes it a very good thing that I have two kids to do the job for me.

Problem is they don’t love the job either…and are obsessed with making sure that it is fair.  As in, no one can possibly take two turns in a row.  Heaven forbid.  Keeping  track was not always easy. Making it frustrating to have to turn every dishwasher full of clean dishes into a big fight discussion.

A smart friend of mine showed me her system and two months later it is still working for us.

Dishwasher Chart

My low-tech dishwasher duty list hangs on the refrigerator.  It is simply an alternating list of my kids names.  First name is the kid for the job.  Cross your name off and it’s the next kid’s turn.  On down the line until mom needs a new piece of scratch paper to make a new list.

Just that much is a great solution…at a glance anyone in the house can clearly see whose turn it is. And that person has no grounds to argue it.  Beautiful.

The unexpected pleasure came when I explained that if I needed those dishes put away and the kid responsible wasn’t available or was choosing not to do it*, the other one could.  Now my kids are happy to put away those dishes.  They know it is fair, and that if they take an extra turn then the other guy has to do the job twice in a row.

My friend uses one list for dishes and another for taking out the recycling.  She has three daughters and it is funny to see that one is quite a bit more helpful than the others.  She usually has her name crossed off two or three times before the others catch up.

Having my kids do a job I loathe without arguing and even occasionally asking to do the job???  Works for me! Check out all the great tips over at We are THAT family…there’s great stuff over there!

* to be clear…if the kid doesn’t want to do the job, but neither does the other one, then the kid on the top of the list has to do it.  We don’t live in a democracy here.  Job needs done?  It gets done.  If it can wait, I try to be lenient.


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Filed under Family, In the Kitchen, Kids, Lists, Simplify, You Don't Have to Like It

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