Spring Cleaning with Kids

By Brittany Carlson

 My boys are little (4 and nearly 2) and have a knack for getting into trouble when I’m distracted. So, when it’s time for any deep cleaning at home, I do most of it when they are asleep. It just seems like the fastest and easiest way for me to get things done.

However, I know that cleaning everything myself isn’t doing them (or me) any favors in the long run. I want them to learn to contribute in our home, and let’s face it: I want them to be able to help me at some point! I just struggle with finding tasks for them that keep them engaged long enough for me to get anything done. 

So, I took to social media to poll some of my mom friends about how they include their children in spring cleaning. Here are some of their ideas that I can’t wait to try:

-Make it into a game (Isabel) 

-Give them a dusting kit. Have them put the silverware away. Let them vacuum if they can reach. Clean up their toys (Becki) 

-Let them clean with their own chemical-free cleaning wipes or water spray bottles (Ronda)

 -Let them put on a fashion show with the idea of getting rid of old clothes (Sharon)

-Tape pictures of the toys that go inside bins to the front of the bins so kids can put them back in the right place (Micah)

-Sing cleanup songs while you work together (Candace)

-Tie mops to their feet and wipes to their shirts and let them loose (Justin)

-Give kids a paintbrush and water bucket and let them help “paint” the garage while you do yard work (Amy)

-Crank up the music and have a Cleaning Party (Janet)

And finally, here’s an interesting one I tried just today: give your kids dryer sheets and let them clean the baseboards with them. It actually did take the dust off my baseboards and my 4-year-old was occupied at least 5 minutes, so I’m going to call that a success!

If you’re attempting spring cleaning this year, and especially cleaning with kids, I wish you the best of luck (and if all you get is an extra few messes to clean at the end, you have my respect). With practice, and a little creativity, hopefully I and moms like me will teach our kiddos that cleaning together is an important part of family life.


Brittany Carlson is a lifelong lover of words and all things chocolate. She is an Army wife and now has two sons, Adam (4) and James (18 months). She has written for several Army community newspapers, including the Stuttgart Citizen (Germany), Fort Leonard Wood Guidon (Missouri) and Fort Belvoir Eagle (Virginia). Brittany holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She and her family live in upstate NY. 

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