For the Multi-Tasking-Parent: How to Build Language While Doing the Dishes

As a parent stuck at home during this strange, unprecedented time, many of us are finding it harder than ever to juggle work, parenthood, and running a household! When we’re already spread so thin, thinking of new ways to work on language with our children can be a daunting task! 

Instead of finding new games and toys, I invite you to involve your child in your daily chores and routines! Did you know you can work on language while doing something mundane like washing the dishes? Your child will love playing “grown up” and doing what mommy and daddy are doing! More than anything, our kids like spending quality time with us, so why not turn boring household chores into quality family time?!

Here are some suggestions on how to go about doing so!

Work on engagement and vocabulary with a song

Make up fun songs for you and your child to sing as you load the dishwasher/wash the dishes. I like to sing, “this is the way we wash the pan, wash the pan, wash the pan” (to the tune of “This is the way we brush our teeth”). This lets me name each dish (bowl, spoon, cup, pan, pot, etc.) to work on vocabulary and gives my child a fun, easy, and predictable song to sing along to! Depending on what your child’s level of language is, they might simply hum along or fill in a word or two, that’s okay! Keep working on it. If you do this every day, you’d be surprised at how quickly your child starts to sing along! 

Target following directions 

Have the child hand you dishes to load into the dishwasher. Say things like, “give mommy the blue bowl”, “give daddy the yellow cup”, “can you put the bowl next to the cup”.

Teach Turn-taking

Take turns to put dishes in the sink/dishwasher. 

“It’s mommy’s turn to put in a dish!”

“It’s daddy’s turn!”

“It’s my turn!”

If your child is at the one-word stage, work on having her say “ME!” every time it’s her turn!

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