Have you heard the phrase “cleaning with kids in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos”? Spring cleaning with small children can be frustrating. Use these 5 tips and tricks to actually get the job done in a way that’s fun for you and your little helpers.
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Welcome to “Ask Kenarry,” a feature on our blog, where our friends, fans and followers ask us to gather ideas for their home or family. The question most recently posed was “What ideas do you have for spring cleaning with small children?” We threw out the question to our followers on social media and gathered five tips and tricks to help you minimize the frustration of spring cleaning with small children. Little helpers can be a big help if you implement these ideas.
ASK KENARRY QUESTION: What ideas do you have for spring cleaning with small children?
It’s spring cleaning time! Our question this month comes from a friend of mine who has two small children, ages 4 and 5. She knows toddlers and young children naturally love to help, but are often in the way or under foot. She asked us to gather some ideas to help her accomplish spring cleaning with small children.
Spring Cleaning Tip #1: Make it a family event and give them jobs to do.
- “Sorting anything…let them dust or wash windows (at least the bottom half!)…beat rugs outside (burns off winter energy)…make it a family event and give them some choices so they feel part of the project. I can say all this with perfect 20/20 hindsight; it’s what I’d do if I had it to do over again!” – Amy, Michigan
- Small children have short attention spans, so this year we’ve been setting aside one morning a week to tackle a spring cleaning project. We call it “Workin’ Wednesdays” and pick one or two goals to accomplish together like organizing the pantry or cleaning out the refrigerator.
Spring Cleaning Tip #2: Be patient, even if it takes longer to clean.
- “My little guy seems to want to work right alongside me. It takes (a lot) longer but I tell myself he’s learning a valuable lesson and will be able to do it himself later on! I saw a great chart by the Montessori school on age appropriate chores though.” – Michelle, Virginia
- Our son wants to be with us doing whatever we’re doing. He naturally wants to be a big helper. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to let him help when I know it’s going to take twice as long. I have to remind myself it’s a great opportunity to teach him how to clean and care for our home. I figure it ought to pay off in the long run when he’s older and really can be a huge help to us. It may be wishful thinking, but maybe then we can get the job done in half the time?
Spring Cleaning Tip #3: Give the kids their own cleaning tools and supplies.
- I make dusting into a game. I give our son his own Swiffer Duster. He loves to follow along behind me and dust whatever surface I just dusted – or really anything he can find, including the dog.
- “(My son) loves helping wash windows or anything that lets him use a spray bottle!” – Kris, Michigan
- “Give them a spray bottle with 50/50 water/vinegar to wash walls, windows etc. if they are little, follow with cloth to wipe down the surfaces, if older, they can spray and wipe.” – Liz, Michigan
- “Old socks on hands for dusting.” – Theresa, Michigan
- Jenny from North Carolina suggested getting child-sized cleaning supplies for spring cleaning with small children.
Spring Cleaning with Small Children Tip #4: Crank up the music.
- “Add music! Dance your way through it!” – Amy, Michigan
- We make it into a cleaning party with loud music. At any time, one of us calls out “dance break” where everyone stops what they’re doing for a moment of silliness and dancing.
Spring Cleaning with Small Children Tip #5: Lower your expectations.
- This was perhaps my favorite response to the question. “Kenarry, cleaning can wait til those kiddos grow up and go to school all day.” – Carol, Michigan
- I have to remind myself over and over again, they’re only little for a short period of time. Having a tidy and clean house is not important in the grand scheme of things. My mom always says “people come over to see YOU, not your house.”
Other Cleaning Tips & Tricks
Looking for other cleaning tips? Follow our Pinterest board for cleaning and organizing ideas.
What are your favorite ways to accomplish spring cleaning with small children? Please comment below to share with our readers.
NEXT MONTH ON ASK KENARRY:
Our oldest son is in school for the first time this year. We’re wondering if it’s customary to give teachers an end of the year appreciation gift. If so, what ideas do you have and (if you don’t mind sharing) how much do you typically spend per teacher? Please comment below to share your ideas. Your ideas may be selected for next month’s Ask Kenarry!
Ask Kenarry is a regular feature, where one of our friends, fans or followers asks us to gather ideas for their home or family. Each month, we start by asking our followers on social media for ideas. If necessary, we also gather additional ideas through our own searches on Pinterest or other online resources. As we share our findings, we make every effort to attribute ideas to their rightful owners and have received their permission to share these ideas, photos and links on our website.
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for your home and would like our help, please Ask Kenarry.