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Toddlers and Spring Cleaning

May 8th, 2015     By Laura Kelley, Crisis Counselor for the Boys Town National Hotline and the Nebraska Family Helpline,

Chores, Family, Toddlers

This post was first published on

On your mark, get set, go! That’s right, you are at the starting line for the “Annual Spring Cleaning Race” project.

Whether you have a two-page or a 10-page “to do” list, some deep cleaning is in order, and that usually takes longer than your regular weekly chores.

It’s that time of year when you get down on your knees and wipe the floor boards that have been splashed with Nebraska’s snowy, salty grime from your little one’s boots, and when drawers need to be opened so you can sort through all of the outfits because, amazingly, your son or daughter has outgrown them in a matter of one season.

You have great aspirations to get your long list done before your child’s busy summer activities begin, but as you walk up to the starting line, you find you have a toddler by your side ready to explore every spray bottle, broom and dust buster you break out.

Should you wait until that afternoon nap everyday to get some work done around the house? Absolutely not – let your little one join you and let the race begin!

Just as you store your cleaning products up high and locked away, keep them up high and out of reach of climbing territory as you are cleaning. Turn all of the spray bottles to the OFF position when you are done with them – whether you turn around to answer a cell phone call for a brief moment or turn off the oven buzzer.

Toddlers still need much attention and supervision, yet they are recognizing they are separate little beings. They often want to try EVERYTHING themselves. Even with the team effort, this might take longer than you anticipated. You’ll have to follow them and wipe up some wet spots on the end table, and you’ll probably have more finger prints on the sliding glass door than you started with, but no worries. You will survive. Have fun with it and put on some kid tunes while you work. Ask your child to “dust something blue” or “dust a chair” as you point out various items to clean. Count out loud together as you wipe an end table down.


Will you get your list done that day? Absolutely not. But what you will get done is a few items on your list crossed off, some modeling of household responsibilities and a shared activity with your child in a safe environment. Now this warrants a gold medal at the finish line.

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