Bittylutions is a series on small, achievable resolutions. For example, instead of “be completely organized and keep my house so clean that when the eight year old next door wants to sell me Girl Scout cookies I can let her in without shame,” we are finding ways to achieve success without killing ourselves by making teeny goals.
While I love the time slots that Jack whisks the girls away so I can deep clean, I’ve realized that as their main caretaker, I need to be able to get things done even when I have a 2 year old and a 3 year old underfoot.
Which seems impossible. And I always hated when mothers with more experience would say things like “Oh, just get them to help you! They love that!”
Right. While I’m unloading the dishwasher, Baby Shark can practice her knife throwing skills. Sounds totally feasible and safe. (Sidenote: she’s available for hire at your next party if that Cirque du Soleil act falls through.)
I’ve come up with a list of things my tots can do while I’m cleaning. Be advised, none of these things occupy them for more than a couple minutes. But, I’m amazed at how much I can get accomplished in spurts of two minutes. As a bonus, I always feel better when I can find alternatives other than another episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.
Also, I feel like the magic age of really being able to help is around 3 and a half. Rembot just hit that magical number, and I find that she is a lot more able and willing than her younger sister.
Toddlers and Preschoolers can…
1) wipe down cabinet fronts. Put some nontoxic cleaner (or a little soap and water) on a rag and let them at it.
2) clean the outside of a fridge. Spray a little nontoxic glass cleaner on the fridge and let them practice their wax-on, wax-off skills.
3) put things in the garbage. (A plus for pregnant moms when bending over and picking that tissue up off the floor seems like a difficult feat.)
4) deliver their clothes to the dirty laundry basket. I bought an inexpensive laundry basket from Ikea for their room, and they love running their dirty clothes over to it.
5) lay out their pajamas on their bed to be worn that night. We try to get two wearings out of pajamas. So in the morning, they’ll take them off and put them on their pillows. (Or in Sharky’s case, fling it in to her crib.)
6) wipe baseboards/furniture. Sometimes I give them a rag and dampen it, sometimes I let them grab a baby wipe and go to town on the front door.
7) put their non-breakable cups and bowls in the kitchen sink.
8) fold washcloths. Rembot LOVES this and it really gives her a sense of accomplishment. Look at that face!
9) sweep. They have a mini broom, and sometimes I take the Swiffer, remove a couple of segments, and shorten it to tot size.
10) put their books in the book basket. (We have one in the living room.)
11) put their blocks away. Or any toys, really, as long as you have specific, designated spots for them.
12) take off their shoes and coats and put them away. We have a basket by the front door designated for shoes, and I put two little hooks inside the closet door at kid height so they can easily put away their coats.
Got more to add? I’m taking notes, too, as my homeowner’s insurance policy requires that Baby Shark stops playing with fire extinguishers. Or some nonsense like that.
If you liked this post, you might want to check out THIS post where I outline how I keep my kids’ room clean, and how they help me do it. :)
You may also like Surviving the Third Baby.