Do Your Kids Help Clean Up the Kitchen?

Some of my earliest kitchen memories have to do with cleaning, not cooking. When I was still quite little — perhaps four years old — my mom would put a step stool next to the sink and let me dry the silverware with a fuzzy dishtowel. I would put on an apron and feel very grown-up. I do have cherished memories of cooking while I was a kid, but I have equally fond memories of cleaning up the kitchen. I am curious how our readers approach this with their own kids, from toddlers to teens: Do they help you clean up the kitchen?

Last week we talked quite a bit about getting the kitchen clean, with a roundup of our readers' favorite cleaning tools, and a discussion of the best music for cleaning — and now, this week, on to child labor! OK, just kidding. But seriously, even though I don't have kids yet, I'm already looking forward to when they are around and can lift some of the dishwashing duties off my husband's shoulders!

I have to admit that my earlier enchantment with washing and drying dishes faded quickly with adolescence and higher expectations of household chores. I was the designated dinner dish-washer for years, until siblings grew up enough to take over. To me, though, it seems like a ritual of childhood: Learning how to clean a kitchen properly, and also learning that the faster you go, the faster you'll be done. I'm a pretty quick washer-up and I'm sure it's due to skills I learned when I was thirteen.

What about you? Did you help with kitchen cleanup when you were still at home with your parents? And what about now? If you have kids, do they help out at all?

Related: On Cooking with Kids (With a Few Recommended Books)

(Image: Flickr member clogozm licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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