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At what age can a child start washing dishes?

I remember when I was about 5 or 6 years old my mom told me to go wash the dinner dishes I laughed at her cause I thought she was joking she said I am not joking go wash the dishes I told her, but I can't reach the sink. She was like now you can (she put a chair in front of the sink) I thought that was a little young. But anyway now that I have a 5 year old girl I am not sure. So what is the right age? (I had to achually wash them and rinse them)


Asked by Anonymous at 6:17 PM on May. 23, 2010 in General Parenting

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Answers (40)
  • "everything but knifes and pans my son started at 4yrs old. I think the sooner children learn responsibility the better."

    I think that is great! I totally agree with you :)


    Answer by Anonymous at 10:57 PM on May. 24, 2010

  • i would start about 6 or 7

    Answer by aprilsalcro at 6:19 PM on May. 23, 2010

  • lol, not sure, my 37 yr old hubby apparently can't do dishes so I don't know how fair it is to ask the kid to do it. In all seriousness, let her "help" you @ this age, let her wash & dry the plastic stuff, make it fun & she'll want to do more on her own.

    Answer by Nyx7 at 6:19 PM on May. 23, 2010

  • i started before i could remember. let her start helping so she can get a feel for it.

    Answer by jennifer588 at 6:19 PM on May. 23, 2010

  • I wouldn't allow my child w/ soapy knives, scalding water, etc etc (by hand dishes) personally til about 10+

    loading the dishwasher though.... maybe 7 or 8? I haven't given it a lot of thought yet. I don't like my kids to have too adult of jobs. I make them keep their own areas perfectly tidy though. bedroom, playroom, closet, drawers, shoes, etc.

    Answer by hibbingmom at 6:22 PM on May. 23, 2010

  • I wouldn't want to eat off anything washed by a 5 or 6 year old... I don't even want to think of all the soap they would miss... Hell, I'm not sure I would want to eat off something washed by a 10 year old... To be honest, I don't plan on ever letting my kids do dishes, there are tons of other chores that need done that won't make me sick if they forget to rinse or scrub...

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 6:25 PM on May. 23, 2010

  • My 5 year old, who JUST turned 5,  WANTS to wash dishes!! He started about a year ago right after his 4th b-day. I remember being around the same age and when I thought it was loads of fun!

    What I do is, fill the sink half way with warm soapy water, and then I let him "wash" all the plastic stuff and silverware (no knives of course) Instead of rinsing them, I have him set them in the empty drying rack when they are "all clean" when he is done washing them, he helps me load them in the dishwasher.

    My son feels SO accomplished and proud of himself after helping me wash dishes :)


    Answer by VeronicaLee at 6:29 PM on May. 23, 2010

  • Hell, I'm not sure I would want to eat off something washed by a 10 year old... To be honest, I don't plan on ever letting my kids do dishes,

    That is why I load the "clean" dishes in the dishwasher after my son washes them. No, I wouldn't eat off them without running them through the washer because they aren't really clean.... BUT, he is learning valuable life skills.

    If I never let my kids practice doing things like this, they will be useless when it comes time for them to take care of them selves. I am hoping that one day- LOL.... my kids will be able to wash dishes on their own because I have taught them how. I don't want my kids to be the ones at 20 years old that can't load a dish washer or wash a dish because "mom always did that stuff for me"


    Answer by VeronicaLee at 6:34 PM on May. 23, 2010

  • My son "helps" me sort laundry too, gather trash, and wipe down the bath room counters too. One day, he'll make for a great husband that will be more than able to help his wife take care of their home :)

    Answer by VeronicaLee at 6:39 PM on May. 23, 2010

  • VeronicaLee - You are saying you would rather waist double the water in the hopes that he will learn to do dishes when he's 20? How about teaching him how important it is to conserve? My mother NEVER let us wash dishes, and guess what, I moved out at 18 and learned how all by myself... It's not like we're talking about a life skill here... It's dishes.

    As for it making him a great husband... My husband was brought up in a house where because he was a boy he wasn't supposed to do laundry or clean because that was "womens work" and in our house, he does at least 90% of the house work... It has nothing to do with if they do dishes at 5 or not... It's about loving their home and their family...

    And in reality, the only chore I don't like my DH doing is the dishes... I want to know they are done right... And he likes to overload the dishwasher...

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 6:57 PM on May. 23, 2010