02 April 2007

Let your toddler "help" clean the bathroom

Kristi's hack reminds us never to underestimate what a toddler can find fun:

Whenever it’s time to clean the bathroom, I give my 2 1/2 year-old daughter a squirt bottle and a washcloth and stick her in the shower.   She loves to “clean the shower” while I do the sink, toilet, and bath.  When it’s time for the shower to get cleaned, I just put her in the clean tub and she makes it all “sparkly.”  This is one of her favorite things to do!

My daughter loved to "fold laundry" when she was a toddler. My son clamored for the feather duster and the Swiffer. What cleaning duties do your kids enjoy?


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My kindergartener loves to clean the kitchen counters, appliances, and cabinets with 409 (or whatever spray we have) and paper towels. If we let him, he'll try to clean EVERYTHING in the house that way :-)

My first grader loves to put the dishes in the dishwasher. My son (4th grade) would rather do the hallways because they are a less of a mess, the other thing he likes to do is laundry.

My daughter loves to clean the hardwood floors. Apparently watching Cinderella has given her some very romantic notions about household chores! In any events, I give her a cloth and let her go at it - if nothing else, it keeps her busy while I get some real cleaning done! ;-)

my kids love to help swiffer the floors, load and unload the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer.

My daughter, at 6, is really good at cleaning and organizing her room...and if I am cleaning my son's room he loves to help put stuff where it belongs!

My 2 year old, loves to squirt with his bottler also...I put water and some lemon jiuce, or tea tree eo, and let him clean tables, oven, fridge, bathroom with that and a microfiber cloth.:)

My son adores the Swiffer Carpet Flick I got for review purposes. He will clean the livingroom of all toys just to be able to Flick the floor!

And he loves to Swiffer his Great Granny's kitchen floor!

My son (now 4) has helped me with the dishes for nearly two years. I wash, he rinses and puts them in the draining rack (when he's done playing with them!)

Dishes, absolutely:

When my daughter was 22 months she was heavy and my back finally decided to complain. At the peak of my pain I couldn't easily reach the bottom shelf of the dishwasher to unload it. But my daughter could, and she helped by handing me dishes from the dishwasher that I then put away. It actually made a nearly impossible task possible.

Now three months later she insists on helping empty out the dishwasher every single time. She knows which drawer things go into, and she can sort the forks and spoons into the correct container, etc.

My 4 year old son LOVES to sweep. We have a broom and dust pan that are about his size and he is happy to sweep the kitchen while I clean the rest of the room. He loves it so much that sometimes he will ask if we can clean today.

Our kids are six and three and at this point they don't just "help", but help -- in fact they are pretty indispensible in cleaning up around the house.

Successful strategies:

1) For the three-year-old-boy -- what he calls the "No you can't do that game". In this game I pretend I want things messy, order him NOT to clean them up, and react with horrified dismay (to his great giggling amusement) at his "disobedience" in picking up toys and books, taking dishes to the kitchen, wiping spills, etc.

2) For both, but particularly the six-year-old girl, when they ask for gifts we think are too expensive, we let them earn them by setting up a chart on the wall, with a check on the chart for each unit of work accomplished: a $40 personalized Arthur video, for instance, was worth a month and a half of clearing the dinner table every day. The three-year-old can be roped into this sometimes by his sister's enthusiasm, but otherwise it's a bit abstract.

3) Putting on music and having cleaning parties, in which each group of toys put away, etc., is rewarded by a unit of dancing and being swung around.

4) A version of "chutes and ladders" with different chore tasks and other things ("wipe the table", "eat a cookie", "drink some water", "put away 3 toys") as the results of landing in the various squares on the board.

By making cleaning up fun and keeping the set of obligatory chores to a well-defined minimum, we've left lots of room for them to enjoy housework, and they often volunteer to clean up, or ask to play one of the housework games. And cleaning up this way is a lot more fun for me, too.

My 3 yr old son loves to use the swifter swivel vacuum. He even empties it. He also enjoys helping me clean ANYTHING (just as long as he has the exact thing in his hand that I do.) I deny him the chance to clean, it may just turn him into a great father/husband one day. The world needs better men and I am raising one.

My 3 yr old son loves to use the swifter swivel vacuum. He even empties it. He also enjoys helping me clean ANYTHING (just as long as he has the exact thing in his hand that I do.) I never deny him the chance to clean, it may just turn him into a great father/husband one day. The world needs better men and I am raising one.

my little guy loves to clean the oven door and the fridge. loves to spray and wipe. spray and wipe. spray and. . .get distracted by something else.

I remember loving to iron as a kid! My mom started me on hankies or cloth napkins since they were easy and let me work up as I got better at it. She loved not having to iron, hehe. Now, I can't stand to iron and buy only non-wrinkling clothing, haha!

Julian is all about the dustbuster. It was one of his first words.

He also wants to wash the dishes several times a day, but that's not actually helping. It's just "potching".


Love, love, love this idea! Thanks so much. My daughter loves to shower with me, so I know she will love to 'clean' the shower too! I have given her the squirt bottle and a cloth to help me "dust" and it's amazing the things she finds to clean!
Thanks again for this incredible idea.

My 6 year old has never liked to clean and to this day it's a battle to get him to do anything. My 17 month old is another story all together. When I unload the dishwasher she "help" by handing me things. When I get out the Swiffer she gets mad if I don't let her push it around a little bit too. When I dust she gets her own rag so that she can wipe at things too.

I don't know why the kids turned out so different but I'm glad to have at least one who likes to help! (Of course the older one has to help too, he just doesn't like it.)

My 2 1/2 year old son loves to clean the windows, (with a duster) clean the TV, (same duster) sweep, and vacuum.

He also likes to help load the washer and dryer.

My 3 and 2 year olds (bro. and sister) love to tag-team housework with me. They especially like to wash dishes! - http://rsrc4.bubbleshare.com/media/00/3d/c9/1b/92bb5b224f2d8d1bb9a042f097453f20fc4e43a2/580x435/IMG-0679_580x435.jpg

the funny thing is I'm REALLY starting to depend on their help to get things done!!! :)

Oh, my goodness. I did NOT get off to a good start! Now I have three sons ages 15 mos to 7 years, and they're pretty inconsistent about helping out, no matter how many tricks we try or how we involve them in organizing decisions.... maybe I can train the baby. (g)

My 3 1/2 year old loves to put the silverware away (he just 'graduated' to the steak knives), sweep and dust. I can't stand dusting. :) Its a great situation! Wish he liked to fold laundry... but then I might have to pay him...

Our 15 month old adores dusting. Her other favorite activity is putting away the clean laundry. Unfortunately, she doesn't have the patience to let me fold a whole bunch--we have to fold and put it away one item at a time...


My kids love to help out with dusting, wiping and dishes. We also found an amazing site www.housefairy.org to get kids motivated and excited about cleaning and organization. It's worked wonders. You have to subscribe, but it's like $10 to join. I can't rave enough about it!!!!

Kids love to help at toddler/preschooler age, don't they? Someone tell me this won't inevitably end! My girls (2.5 and almost 4) love to wipe anything down with an old cloth diaper and vinegar/water: my glass patio doors, mirrors, the table, countertops, sinks, anything. Sometimes I give each daughter two of them, and tell them to "go skating" around the kitchen floor while I sit and eat bonbons. ;)

They also like to sweep, although I'm not crazy about it happening while I am, because they scatter the dirt I just swept into a pile. The older daughter loves to fold laundry and actually does a great job at it! And my youngest enjoys unloading the dishwasher with me.

Elizabeth is not yet two, so she's not helping much. But she does like to help me pick things up and put them where they belong. She'll even initiate that.

And she helps with laundry; I stand at the washer and she hands me clothes from the basket to put in (it's a top loader), or I take the wet clothes out and she moves them into the drier. It takes a bit longer than doing it myself, except that she's not crying in the next room, she's part of the action.

Oh, and when we shop, she likes to hold one or more of the items.

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