Daily Lessons

What is the rush?

A guide to cleaning with toddlers.

My husband saw me struggling once to sweep the kitchen floor while Mr. 3 was trying to “help”. He said something that meant “Relax, what is the rush?”

Well today I thought about it, and I concluded that there was not any need to race through cleaning the house. Any cleaning we get done while he is awake is something I don’t have to worry about during nap time. Even if it takes 3 times as long, we don’t have anything else to be doing today and letting him help keeps him happy. Also, he is learning to clean the house. 

We started with the toilet in my bathroom. We have the stick cleaner with the pad on the end, and he scrubbed the inside of the bowl and the toilet seat. Any spills at this point will get mopped up or wiped with the rag I use to remove the cleaner from the seat.

Toddler tip: Give them Q-tips and a trash can and let them clean out the disgusting tracks on the shower doors. This kept Mr. 3 busy the whole time I scrubbed the bath tub and sink. 

Next, we cleaned the glass. Windows and kitchen table. I sprayed and he rubbed and I told him where he missed the spots. He asked me to help so I had my own rag and pretty much went over it all again.

Then we put some laundry in the machine, which he loves to do and has been doing by himself for a while now. He even knows to put in 2 pods and turn it on. Which is more than I remember to do sometimes.   (last week I did one load without detergent and forgot to turn on a second load.) 

We let the roomba run downstairs and proceeded to sweep and mop.

Today he only swept for a little bit before passing it to me. Some days he really gets into it and tries to sweep the carpet or ceiling.

I had to do this spot twice because he also wanted to help with the dustpan and ended up scattering the dirt everywhere again. 

It’s precisely those accidents that would normally frustrate me, but I’m taking the advice and remembering we’ve already accomplished a lot today, and he’s got to practice before he gets good. 

Then he hides on the couch while I vacuum the stairs. This has been on the to do list for a few months.

I’m not some amazing housewife that cleans this well every week. We have a dog and a cat so we vacuum the the living room weekly, and I try to clean toilets and floors every other week. Today was a day for the record books, though. I even remembered to wipe down the handrail which had odd orange handprints and apparently a whole layer of mysterious grime. 

How do you let your kids help you clean? 


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