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I can’t be the only one who struggles to get their cleaning done with kids around! Some days it feels like shovelling in a snowstorm… No matter how hard I work, they mess things up faster than I can clean! But spring cleaning with kids can be done… And here are some tips to make that happen.
Tips For Spring Cleaning With Kids
I’m not going to make this an official tip but the real best way to spring clean with kids around is to get them out of the house. Send those darlings off to grandma’s for the day (or weekend), have your partner take them out of the house, or just send them into the yard and lock the door. OK fine, maybe that last one is frowned upon.
Cleaning with kids is difficult. But, with a little planning ahead ( and these tips for spring cleaning with kids) you can at least be somewhat productive.
Explain what’s going on
Sometimes I think that kids misbehave because no one prepares them for what’s going to happen or explains what’s going on. Even though it happens every year, your 4 year old is likely not going to remember what spring cleaning even is. So, when you’re up on a step stool trying to clean the ceiling fan they’re going to have a million and one questions.
By explaining what you’re doing and filling in all your kids on the game plan you at least can prepare them for what’s coming. Once they know the expectations, they will also know what is (and isn’t) acceptable. In short: get everyone on the same page.
Give everyone a spring cleaning list
You’re not the only one who lives in this house, so why are you the only one cleaning it? Just like we enlist kids to do chores or at least look after their own spaces, we can also make them help with spring cleaning. Think about what chores your kids already do. Then base their spring cleaning task list off that.
For really young kids, you can put pictures on the list instead of words. Then explain what each thing is and give instructions. Or just have them shadow and “help” with whatever you’re doing.
How to get spring cleaning done with a toddler
Toddlers are exceptional. They always want to help, yet are never helpful. Chances are yours will want to get in on all the “fun” of spring cleaning too! Don’t deprive the little one of such a luxury… Get them their own spring cleaning gear instead.
A toddler equipped with a spray bottle full of water and a rag can have a lot of fun “cleaning” while you do the real work. Or give them a duster and show them how to dust (breakable free) surfaces. My kids loved to “wash” the walls when they were small!
Turn one room into the “messy” space
If your kids aren’t going to help (or you don’t want them to) at least give them a designated place to play. A playroom, their bedrooms, or the family room are great choices for this. That will be the one room they’re allowed to be in and be their messy selves while you get the cleaning done.
This is better for older kids since little ones shouldn’t be left unsupervised. Or pay older kids to occupy the younger ones while you get a few hours of power cleaning in.
Use Kid-Safe Cleaning Products
Odds are you’re going to run into some kind of kid-related catastrophe while you’re cleaning. Don’t turn it into something worse than it needs to be by having dangerous chemicals around. Instead, choose natural, safe cleaning products like vinegar, baking soda, and lemons.
Tip: If you hate the smell of vinegar you can add a few drops of essential oils, or lemon, to it so you house smells a little bit less like french fries.
Make spring cleaning with kids fun
If you can’t beat them, join them! Instead of having to complete this huge chore have fun cleaning with your kids. Race them to complete chores. Slide around wet floors together. Make them laugh as you tickle them with a duster. You get the idea.
Spring cleaning is a great opportunity to freshen up your house after a long winter, but it’s something to celebrate. Not a chore! Don’t forget to open the windows to let in some fresh spring air and maybe take a break to go outside and play.
Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect
When you have kids, especially young ones, in the house it’s tough to keep a perfect home. Although I’m guilty of it too us moms really put too much pressure on ourselves. Instead of doing everything on your spring cleaning list focus on what’s most important. Maybe some tasks can wait until next time, and maybe some aren’t important at all.
Consider hiring help
If you really want to have a clean house, but just can’t seem to manage it with the kids (or just don’t want to!) consider hiring help. Someone can come in and tackle the spring cleaning for you while your family heads out for the day. There’s honestly nothing better than coming home to a clean house that you didn’t have to deal with.
This is also a good way to get caught up after a major lifestyle shift like a new job or baby. Sometimes we get behind on housework and there’s no shame in that! But there are solutions to get back on track.
Break up the cleaning
I personally love it when my whole house is clean at once, but that’s not always realistic. Consider breaking up your spring cleaning into bite size chunks. Or even complete smaller tasks over a couple weeks while the kids are in bed.
By doing it that way you can usually get something while the kids are at school or the baby is napping, or at least in the evening when everyone’s asleep. I like to use that time to tackle organizing projects and other cleaning tasks I find more enjoyable.
Don’t leave it too late
I find that if I don’t start my spring cleaning with kids early then it doesn’t happen at all. Once the weather warms up enough all we want to do is be outside. Especially after our long, cold Manitoba winters!
Instead, I use spring cleaning as a late inter pick-me-up when the days get longer and I can finally open the windows again but the snow hasn’t all quite melted yet. That way when summer arrives we can all enjoy it.