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When it comes to cleaning and tidying up with little ones at home, it can be a bit of a challenge in knowing where to begin or simply how to involve our kiddos, if at all! Does one clean when they nap? Then there’s the inevitable loud vacuum situation which doesn’t bode well for tiny sleepers. So should one put on a show? Then what if you’re trying to limit screens and visual media? Or gather arts and crafts to keep the busy bees occupied? Then there’s potentially more mess! What ever to do, what ever to do? While one could argue it’s much easier to bake that pie without tiny hands measuring flour, or to do all the sweeping by yourself after lunch to get each and every one of those stubborn crumbs underneath the table, inviting our youngsters to join in with basic cleaning and home care offers much more than we as their caregivers might even realize. I believe home care, in essence, is a form of self-care that we can and should practice throughout the day alongside our little ones, because in caring for the spaces where we live, we are in turn, making our own care a priority.
Just think: how nice is it to pull back the covers of a tightly made bed and cozy in after a long day? Or how about coming home from the park or library to a room that’s tidied up and ready for more play? Home care does not need to be overwhelming or obsolete when caring for little ones, and when involving our kids on a simple but consistent basis, we can impart invaluable lessons that these little helpers of ours are sure to carry on as they go through life and soon enough, make homes of their own. And this isn’t to say I think homes should always be spick and span! Messes are sure to be made when caring for little ones, and surely things must become undone before we can do them up again. That being said, I believe that embracing a slower pace when it comes to home care by showing our little ones through presence and mindful modeling, connection and togetherness as a family can be fostered, along with a deeper appreciation for the home you share.
Below are a handful of tips and tidbits for you as a caregiver to try within your home as you clean and tidy alongside your kiddos. You might find one or two tips work well depending on the ages of your youngsters, or maybe a mix of each. I invite you to sit back and ponder how home care with your little ones can enrich your days and become acts of everyday self-care that makes your home a life-giving place to spend your time.
5 Mindful Tips & Tidbits When Cleaning with Little Helpers
- Intention Setting & Mindful Mirroring | Setting the intention from cleaning to caring is the first step in practicing mindful home care, caring for kids or not! When we view cleaning and drudgery and chores as little things that get in the way of living a life, they are sure to bring about misery and bore. But if you reframe the way you look at cleaning and tidying and think of these things as simple ways to care for yourself and your home, they are sure to bring much more positive energy into your life. This also goes for the mirroring that happens when our little ones learn from us by watching what we do day in and day out. Little ones learn best through imitation, and it’s not just our actions but our energy they are soaking up! Be sure to set a positive intention when inviting your kids to help you around the house, because energy is contagious and they will mirror what they see and feel.
- Eco-Conscious Products | Using eco-conscious home care products when cleaning with little ones is a wonderful way to have them lend a hand in a safe way without concern of handling harsh chemicals. While I do make many of our own nontoxic home care products, I do purchase some from time to time and have always loved everything made by The Laundress because they care about quality and value plant-derived ingredients. If you have not tried their Baby Laundry Detergent, you must! It’s a favorite of mine and one I still use, despite no longing having tiny baby clothes to launder. I like that the ingredients are biodegradable, cruelty-free, plant-derived and allergen-free, and packaged with care so that if dropped by little hands, they won’t shatter. The kids are all about the spray cleaners such as the Glass & Mirror Cleaner, along with the Surface Cleaner (which smells wonderful) to wipe away goo and grime, as they are the easiest and most fun for kids to use. I love that the Surface Cleaner is safe to use on nearly any surface, making it quite alright no matter where they choose to mist and wipe down, our hardwood floors included! The Laundress as many well-made cleaning tools that you see in the photos above to help with your everyday home care solutions, such as wood brushes, linen knit dish cloths, lint-free cleaning cloths, and more.
- Tidy Timer & Quick Pick Ups | If you have really little ones, try setting a tidy timer for 5 or 10 minutes and do quick pick ups with specific goals in mind. Instead of saying, “Let’s pick up the house”—which can be quite overwhelming for anyone—consider doing a small task like picking up the toys in one room, making the beds, or scrubbing dirty dishes at the sink. The more specific for youngsters the better, and soon enough they will begin to learn on their own what needs to be cleaned and tidied without your help. If you get into a rhythm of cleaning and tidying at certain times of the day, this can help too. We do a pick up in the afternoons before dad gets home, and then again in the evening before bed. This isn’t a time of scrubbing per se, but more like putting things back in their rightful place. Consistency is key.
- Gather Basket & Back to Ready | I have found that a gather basket helps all of us when our home is in need of a good pick up. Find a medium-large basket, preferably with a handle, and go through a room or the whole house and put everything in there that isn’t in its rightful home. Maybe there is a toothbrush in the kitchen or a markers in the bathroom. Once the basket is full, go back through the house and give each item a home to live in. This is how we get rooms back to ready in a flash, and it makes picking up with little ones pretty easy.
- Clean Up Song / Play Music | This tidbit goes for any age, but it’s particularly helpful for young ones who like playful songs. We sing the “Clean Up, Clean Up” song at school when it’s time to get the playroom back to ready, and I put on fun music for the kids when I need their help around the house to make things more enjoyable. Elizabeth Mitchell and Raffi are favorites. Sometimes I’ll do a 1 song tidy-up and we will all clean up the kitchen or fold laundry for the entire of that one song. It’s short and sweet and the kids seems to enjoy it. The lesson here: make everyday home care enjoyable for you and for them.
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I hope these mindful tips and tidbits give you some inspiration to try in your home when cleaning alongside your little ones. If you have any ideas to share, feel free to do so below! I am going to be sharing our chore chart & age appropriate cleaning tasks this autumn, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, you can find The Laundress versions here along with more Clean & Tidy posts for your everyday home care needs.
This post was sponsored by The Laundress and all opinions, words, and photos are my own. I thank you dear reader for supporting the brands that help support this space. Because of my partnerships, I am able to make, write, and share with you!