How to Clean with a Toddler

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Let’s be honest, we all know the feeling. You are at home with your little one, and the house is a mess, and your toddler is being demanding of your attention. You need to get some housework done but it seems almost impossible to get anything done.Since he isn’t taking a nap anymore as often, as long, or at all, it jsut seems like there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.

You’ve tried just powering through, and sure that worked the first couple times. Maybe your little one watched to see what you were doing. And then, if your little one is anything like mine, he started to “help”. When I put the broom against the wall to take the dustpan to the trash, I come back to see him waving the broom around trying to sweep. Not only is this dangerous for anything the handle could reach, he could also hurt himself!

So you take it away. After all you don’t want him to get hurt or your TV to get smashed. And then the tears start. After all, what’s wrong with him trying to “help” you in what you are doing? So the next time, you let him “help” but guard anything and everything while he sweeps. This is not only time-consuming, but you have now become the hovering parent. Time to find a different way to handle this!

So what did I do?

The very first thing I did was breathe. Taking 10 breaths, even while he was crying, upset and on the verge of a tantrum helped me to center myself so that I could respond to what he was experiencing without my mood influencing him and potentially making things worse.

The second thing I did was put on some music. I am so thankful that my little one LOVES music. He gets down with his bad self whenever there is a beat on. This is something that I have started doing before I start doing anything that I want to get done. It not only helps to give him something to focus on, but I made a playlist of my favorite songs so I’m listening to some awesome music as well. And this helps keep me in a good mood so that I can breathe through even if he does try to “help”.

After that “chore” was done, I started thinking that if the broom was more his size than it wouldn’t be so much of a problem to “help”. It would be easier for him to handle, I wouldn’t have to worry about things breaking, and I would be able to get what I needed to get completed done even while he was “helping”. So I hopped onto Amazon and found this: Dinosaur Cleaning Station

It is currently in the mail, but I cannot wait to introduce to my little one. One thing that really was a selling point for me was that it not only comes with a broom and dustpan, but also a duster, a little mop, and has its own little caddy so we can have a place to keep all of this instead of piled in a corner somewhere. So I am hoping at when I get it, I will be able to do some more cleaning with him “helping” by my side.

If you are interested in checking this cleaning station out, CLICK HERE

I think I should also state that I am hoping that as he grows up, if I encourage his “helping” habits, then it will actually turn into helping and doing of chores. I believe that if I were to keep telling him no, and taking, in this case the broom, away, then he would have negative associations with sweeping and potentially “helping” which could be a hurdle as he gets older and I want him to start helping around the house.

I honestly cannot wait for this to come in the mail, I find myself putting off some of my routine cleaning so that he can help me the next time with his own tools.

I do believe that the best way to clean with my little one is to include him in it. Not only does it help cement in his head that cleaning is not just “mom’s work”, but it also will give him a sense of accomplishment as he gets older and does more and/or difficult tasks in his life.

I also think that it is so important for a parent to remember to breathe. Your little one is still learning about themselves, their world, and how everything fits together. It is all new for him. It can be so trying sometimes when he wants to “help” and in reality it is just making more of a mess. Then he looks up at you with such a full and proud smile just like he conquered the world with his “helping”. Take a step back, take a couple breaths, and then continue on. He is just trying to help Mama.

I do hope that you found all of this helpful for learning how to clean with your toddler. Please leave a comment below of anything that you loved, hated, agree with or don’t agree with. Do you have any suggestions of your own that you have found to be successful in cleaning with your little one? Please share!

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  1. Thank you for sharing your post about the cleaning with your little one. I totally agree with your way of thinking. There is nothing wrong in letting them trying. After all they learn like that. They are seeing their first teacher (Moms) doing it everyday so they get motivated. That’s actually a very good sign in little ones. Later on, in their life they will be very responsible and good individuals. I have seen it on my own children.

    All the best!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! This is my first little one that I’m raising and I hope that his continued interest in what I do and wanting to help is a sign like you said that he will grow up like that. All I can do is encourage, lead, and hope for the best 🙂


  2. Thank you so much for this article. I feel your opinion is very spot on because of course there is no problem in letting them clean. Even better if you make it a fun activity for your little one. I think your methods are very valid and definitely when I have little ones, I’ll be sure to remember what I read here.  

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