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This summer’s new institution…

June 30, 2008

is kitchen clean up by committee. If I weren’t a homeschooler I would have written “clean” and “committee” with a “k” for marquee effect. But we stereotypically dislike that sort of thing, so I’m trying not to cause trouble.

Anyway, KCUBC (I’ve got nothing against acronyms) works like this: I cook the meal. We eat the meal. And everyone helps clean up the meal. Sounds relatively simple, I realize.

The genesis of the plan began when my older two sons were about 3 and 4 years old. I let them help with wiping off the table, using the dustpan, unloading the plastic dishes from the dishwasher, and so on. They have become quite skilled at those things.

Over the next few years, we added tasks like setting the table, properly, and taking out the trash. Also feeding the cats and changing their water. Loading and unloading groceries has existed as part of their home requirements since they could tote the tortillas.

Last year I even let the older two, then 9 and 10 years old, begin to cook some of their own breakfast choices like instant grits, oatmeal, scrambled eggs and toast. Their kitchen skills had gradually begun to improve. It was very good for this Mom.

One downside being that I realized I had let expectations slip with the younger offspring whose requirements were coming much later than his older siblings. That has been changed, and he is now pulling some weight around here.

It was a brainstorm a couple of weeks ago when I noticed how many dishes there were to clean, how tired I all ready felt, and how quickly after filling themselves in 20 minutes on the meal that took 2 hours to prepare, the kitchen emptied like cats out of a room with a vacuum. I decided that night it was time for phase two of kitchen skills.

Here are the finer details: the two older boys, now 10 and almost 11, take turns cleaning off the table, loading the dishwasher, and then washing the pots, pans, and remaining detritus. The youngest is responsible for washing off the table, re-folding the cloth napkins, and sweeping the kitchen. I take care of putting away any and all leftovers into plastic containers, since I’m the only one who can find the lids. Husband puts on the evening coffee and calls me “honey” lots, after many compliments on the meal. Even if its Ramen.

And tonight even, I begged off oversight duties by handing the reins to him while I composed this post.

I am really enjoying the KCUBC plan.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2008 2:37 am

    Sure sounds like a humdinger of a plan to me! And, as I think about it, one that would stand the test of time come fall and winter. Think so?

  2. July 1, 2008 3:02 am

    Ah how well I remember being in their shoes! My sisters and I swore that the only reason our parents had us was so we could clean the kitchen. They retired to their recliners immediately following the meal while we “slaved away” on clean-up duty. We had 3 jobs which we rotated each night: 1.Clean off table 2. Wash 3. Rinse/dry

    Dad wouldn’t let us run the dishwasher unless it was full so we just licked clean plates and stuck them in to make a load. Oh yes we did. Of course these little details came out to our horrified mother just a few years ago. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

  3. July 3, 2008 4:41 pm

    I’m loving this!

    Since January, we do a “ten minute tidy” every night, where every member of the family “leaves no trace” in the downstairs common living areas. It makes for a much more relaxing evening for FirstHusband and I if we don’t sit down surrounded by toys and . . . stuff.

  4. July 7, 2008 1:38 pm

    I need to do this. I’m putting “think about how to implement KUCBC” on my To Do List. If nothing else, my six-year-old and four-year-old can bring their dishes to the counter.

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