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5 Tips for Cleaning With Younger Kids

By Allen Rathey

Youngsters want to feel useful too! Here are five tips for happily involving them, and becoming a better parent in the process:

  1. Give supervised toddlers a carton of extra-non-toxic baby wipes and let them go to town cleaning walls, countertops, and tables. If they’re going to be underfoot anyway, they may as well clean the baseboards!

  2. Gear tasks to your children’s strengths and interests. If she loves to move, hand her a feather duster and stand back (obviously directing her away from breakables). If he’s thoughtful and methodical, let him polish the table to a brilliant shine. 

  3. Safe, nontoxic cleaners are best for kids and the environment.  They’re readily available to purchase, or you can use products you already have in your home. A drop of dish soap in water makes a good degreaser and rinses easily. Baking soda is a great scouring powder for the sink. (Follow it with a cup of white vinegar for a fun foamy show and a fresher drain.)

  4. Encourage them to do a good job, but be willing to lower your standards a bit. Praise their work, even if you have to redo it when they aren’t looking. Proudly proclaim to guests that “Chase did it himself.” You won’t be seen as a bad housekeeper – just a great parent.

  5. Skip the toy version in favor of the real thing: Handheld vacuums or non-electric carpet sweepers are fun and with proper supervision are safe tools for kids to use. Let your preschooler help by sweeping up crumbs after supper or snack-time spills. She’ll love feeling like a grown-up!

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