How to Deep Clean Your Home with a Toddler By Your Side

April 9, 2019

This post was sponsored by P&G Home Care.

Call it nesting or spring cleaning, but I have been in a deep cleaning kind of mood. You know, buying all the storage containers I can find, donating the clothes and other items we don’t need and cleaning like it’s my actual day job. I’m not sure about your kids but as long as I’m on my feet and doing something productive in the apartment, Owen is much more likely to let me be than if I’m on my computer. It’s like he knows I’m trying to work, you know?

But, as he gets older, Zack and I feel it’s important to include him in our household chores and teach him the value of cleanliness. We’re starting off small, but so far it’s been super fun to see Owen get into it. And, he’s actually a great little helper! Below are ten of the ways I’ve been deep cleaning with our little guy by my side.

1. Do a little prep if it’s their first time cleaning! First and foremost before you start bringing your kids into the bigger chores like deep cleaning, I would make sure they’re comfortable with cleaning their room, bath-time cleanliness, putting toys and clothes away, taking the trash out with a parent, etc. If you need a little encouragement let them watch a cleaning episode of their favorite show a couple days before. Here are a few episodes Owen really loves; Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Clean Up Time / Neighborhood Clean Up, Sesame Street: Elmo Comes Clean or The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! Super Cleaner Uppers.

2. Start by putting all their toys away. This is Owen’s responsibility each and every day. I usually have us stop once there are a few different activities / toys / projects out, clean everything up and then get out something else. He usually requests the “Clean Up” song and I happily oblige. I usually have to start helping him to get the process going, but then he’s really great about finishing the job. Whether you’re a kid or an adult I believe it’s important to do a general clean up before you dive into any sort of deep cleaning.

3. Let them own one, non-toxic task. Of course, when cleaning with toddlers and kids in general it’s really important that you’re not letting them handle any sort of toxic chemicals. On this particular day I let Owen take control with our Swiffer 360 Dusters. He’s such an accomplish driven kid that he loved being helpful and was so proud that he was doing it all by himself – with my supervision of course. If you think making it more of a game would be helpful for your little ones, I highly encourage it. Example: make a chart of all the surfaces they need to dust and give them a star or sticker once they’ve cleaned it. Owen loves this sort of thing.

4. Listen to their favorite tunes and keep it fun and light. It’s not my dream to listen to kids tunes all day, but if it means Owen will help me clean and more importantly let me clean, I’m all for it. I think with most things we do with our kids it’s important to keep the agenda or schedule flexible. Stop and play if you feel like it will help, have a little dance party to get some extra energy out or have a snack. Keep it fun!5. Make it a game! I obviously want to be the one handling our Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sheets (which are super cool and thin if you haven’t checked them out) but I also want to include Owen and have him help. This time around we played a little game where he found a spot on the wall (read: peanut butter, scuff, marker, coffee splash, etc.) and I would erase it. Super easy!

6. Teach them something new each time. Sometimes Owen can shy away from new tasks / experiences but we always try to encourage him to try something new. Whether it’s letting him bring the dishes to the kitchen, wiping down the coffee table or helping clean his training potty, Owen is always more into it if he learns how to do something new!7. Did you say buttons & lights? Save the best for last if this applies to your kids too. Owen is obsessed with pressing all the buttons (pun intended). Once we took out our Swiffer WetJet Wood he could not contain himself or focus on anything else, haha. We established a little system were he would push the button, see the lights come on and the cleaner spray out and then I would mop. He was super into it!8. Make your next activity known, clear and exciting! If your kids are antsy (like Owen can be) we always have better luck getting from one task to the next if he knows what’s ahead. Maybe you plan to go to the park or library or play a game at home that they really love to play, but make it clear that after the cleaning is over there will be something strictly kid focused that they can look forward to!9. Let their senses play a role. Owen has been learning all about senses lately and is super into smell. He’s been requesting to stop and smell the flowers, telling me when his food smells good and of course noticing when there’s a funky smell in the bathroom, hah. I’ve personally been a fan of Febreze scents since I worked closely with vintage clothing (I used to manage a shop and even had a shop of my own for a minute). There was just nothing else that freshened up the clothes or space quite like it. With countless spills on our couch and smells in our apartment building we’re loving the new Febreze Happy Spring Fabric Refresher and the Febreze AIR Freshener in the same scent.  10. Save the deeper cleaning for after bedtime. Of course there are limits to cleaning with toddlers. You obviously want to keep things safe and I always save the ultra deep cleaning like toilets, showers, ovens, etc. for after bedtime!It’s unbelievably hard to find the balance with caring for kids, keeping a clean house, work (for me), and life in general but I’ve found that little hacks like this make our life a little more manageable and less stressful. One of the things I love about life with little ones is that they truly make the mundane exciting and an entirely new experience every time!

Photography by Amy Frances.

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