We usually arrive home for the day around 5:00PM and I encourage the girls to play for a few minutes while I get a plan. If dinner is already decided I might make sure the kitchen is clean or do the dishes. On nights when I have no plan you can usually find me digging through the freezer or pantry for ideas. Regardless of the night I always like help. Help that is not underfoot, that is.
I know I should not get used to it, but my girls love to do dishes. Maurene will run to the kitchen screaming, 'me do!' if I ask for help unloading the dishwasher. She takes the items out of the bottom rack and tells me, 'here go.' When it is time to put the silverware away I place her on a chair with the basket in front of the open drawer. She will be two years-old next month and thinks this is the coolest activity. Audrey can reach and knows where a few plastic and children's items go and will put these away by herself. While they are putting away dishes I will find a few non-breakables to place in the sink half filled with cool, soapy water. There is usually a large puddle of water on the floor when they are done so I give them a dry mop or rags to clean the floor. Amazingly they both love to do these activities. I try to rotate washing dishes with cleaning counters; sweeping; and moping. If you find your kitchen helper are underfoot more than they are helping, find them a fun chore to help with. They might accidentally clean something. It has happened on occasion at Audrey's house.