Toddlers like to help. This tip will help you take advantage of that!
I bought a small stand-alone cabinet for my kitchen several years ago. The cabinet has been invaluable. It houses all the kids’ plastic cups, bowls, plates, straws, and silverware. The kids – even the smallest ones – can reach into all areas of the cabinet.
There are a couple of benefits to this. First, since they can reach it, that means they can get stuff out and put it away. Second, since there’s nothing breakable in there, all the stuff is available for play.
Even at about 18 mos., my youngest was able to learn to get a bowl out for her snack. Now at 2, when I’m unloading the dishwasher, she can put her own dishes away.
Nothing like getting them started early! I really like this because it teaches some responsibility for their “own” things and also gives them the opportunity to “help” mom.
Even if you don’t have room in your kitchen for a stand-alone cabinet that’s all their own, you could even designate one of your kitchen cabinets to house the kid-dishes.
Try it and let me know how it works for you!