Fast Fun Cleaning with Toddler Tornadoes

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     If you have children then you can completely relate to trying to clean your home while the children follow behind and destroy it again. This happened to me and I finally just got fed up. So, I created fun, easy games to encourage my toddler tornadoes to help mommy with the chores. They LOVE it! Now I can clean with ease, quickly and have a blast with my kids.

           If you’re like me and have toddlers in you’re home, then you understand that keeping the house clean is like raking leaves on a windy day. I have the kind of kids that will empty the toy box just to play with the box. My kids are ages two and four, both boys and didn’t always like to help me clean. In fact when I would ask for help with the chores it would become a battle. After thinking about it for awhile I realized that kids need to have fun to stay focused. If they don’t enjoy something they won’t do it without a fight. So I created games, and they work fantastic. Even my youngest loves to get in on the action. I found that instead of fighting with them to help me clean or getting mad at them for making a mess while I clean, it was better to just use the chores as a way to spend quality time together.  

Laundry, everyone has it and most people hate it.  My children aren’t very good at folding, but they are good at knowing what clothes are what and belong to whom. When gathering laundry we have a laundry hunt. Even though I have laundry baskets galore in our house, the laundry rarely ends up in the basket. So, each kid gets a basket and they split up, pushing the baskets through the house gathering laundry they find lying around. When their baskets are full, they race back to the washer.  For sorting the laundry, we have a color/counting game. My kids take turns earning points if they can tell me what color the shirt is or how many socks are in the pile. With this game, they quickly learned their colors and my two year old just learned how to count to ten. Loading the washer or dryer, my four year old likes to pretend he’s feeding the laundry monster so he loves to stuff the machines full of clothes. This one is easy for him since we have front loader machines. It makes it more entertaining when I make the sounds that a laundry monster would make (at least I think it would make, have yet to meet one). When the laundry is dry and its time to put it away, they will each take turns handing me an item from the basket telling me what color it is and what the item is. When all are folded or put on hangers they like to count how many there are of each item as we put them away. It’s very helpful and a lot easier to get the laundry done when the kids pitch in.

The kitchen is my least favorite of all chores. I hate hate hate doing dishes. We don’t have a dish washer, so all dishes are done by hand the ole’ fashion way.  My two year old like to gather the cups from around the house because again, for some reason they don’t always make it to the sink when not in use. My four year old like to rinse the dishes as I wash and my two year old likes to place them in the drainer. This is a safe chore for them and the dishes because I learned with my oldest that having breakable dishes just wasn’t a good idea. So, every item in our kitchen that is considered a dish is plastic. As I dry and put the dishes away one kid cleans the table while the other cleans the counters. I don’t use harsh chemicals when cleaning because my oldest has bad skin allergies to just about everything he touches it seems. So I made my own cleaner using Dawn dish soap and a spray bottle or hot water (not boiling, just barely hot). Just a light mixture of the two in the bottle and I only make enough to cover the surfaces that need to be cleaned. Afterwards I wipe down everything with Clorox wipes to kill the germs. I sweep the floor and one child holds the dust pan and then my youngest likes to help me go over the floor again with the Swiffer sweeper. My oldest mops the floor with the Swiffer Wetjet

The living room is always the easiest room to clean. We turn off the TV. I give one the duster (usually the oldest), while the other gets to fix the cushions on the sofa and chairs. They love to “fluff” the throw pillows, which always becomes a pillow fight.  We make it a race to see who can put away the most items, such as books on the bookshelf, magazines on the rack, toys put back in their room, and newspapers in the recycling.  I vacuum and since I’m lucky enough to have kids who aren’t afraid of the vacuum, I chase them with it, pretending to be the evil vacuum monster. They hop onto the sofa and when I back away they run to the vacuum only to run away again laughing and screaming. 

By this point they are tuckered out and I turn on the television and place them on a blanket in the floor (they call it the Reward Blanket) for a well deserved snack of Teddy Grams or a freeze pops. With the TV on I go off to clean the bathroom or pick up things in my room and not have to worry about them. I also walk the home spraying down toys and common surfaces with Lysol Disinfectant Spray to control the germ population.  Almost every time, I will finish making my bed and go to check on them and they are passed out together for a cat nap on their reward blanket. I am free to enjoy the hour or so of quiet time with a good book and a blanket on the sofa near them or just outside the front door on the porch.  These are my ways of accomplishing the weekly chores quickly and in peace. I never force my kids to help and trust me it doesn’t always go this smoothly. Some days we have our grumpy days and one of them will just not be in the mood to help. When this happens I try to occupy him with television or a coloring book at the kitchen table till we are done. I always make sure to still give the one not helping attention when asked for it. If I place them at the table with crayons and a coloring book I appoint them the task of coloring beautiful pictures for the fridge. I hope that sharing these will ease the troubles of my readers that I once experienced with my kids. Good luck and happy cleaning!

 

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