Me · Parenting

Cleaning with Children

Now everyone knows that cleaning with children present is difficult impossible, and I try very hard to avoid it at all costs; choosing to clean in the evenings when they are asleep, or when they are being looked after by someone else. Though I can’t pretend I clean too often; some areas of the house just don’t get dirty enough to justify the bedlam on a regular basis and we can’t afford a cleaner, so there is only so much I can do. But, we do make a big effort to clean the house from top to bottom at Christmas (yes, I know, another ridiculous job to add to our never-ending Christmas to-do list, but I do like a very clean house for Christmas). This is a big clean and involves re-organising and properly sorting everything; a lot of which we manage to do in the evenings without the children, but sometimes the presence of children is inevitable (I can’t, for example, move their beds to clean underneath them while they are sleeping). Today I decided to take the plunge and just get something done.

So, based on today’s fun, here is my definitive guide to cleaning with a child in 38 steps:*

  1. Sort out and tidy all toys, moving all those that haven’t been played with for a while to the loft for the duration of the Christmas period (it is best to do this one evening when children are in bed as this is literally impossible with said children awake).
  2. Spend most of next morning explaining why toys that haven’t been played with in the past 6 months have gone to the loft for the Christmas period, to be met with shouts of, “but that’s what I was wanting to play with all day today” and “but you’ve moved all of my favourite things”, despite the fact that they have no idea what you have moved.
  3. Take eldest child to preschool as you are not stupid enough to attempt to actually clean with both children present.
  4. Return home and have coffee while you plan the morning of cleaning.
  5. Fill large washing up bowl with warm water (not too hot, you don’t want to get burnt).
  6. Ask youngest child if he would like to help (no, he would not).
  7. Try to persuade youngest child to play upstairs where you can supervise him.
  8. Fail step 7, and therefore spend next 15 minutes setting up large train track to keep child amused for a while few minutes while you attempt to clean something.
  9. Realise warm water has now gone cold so repeat step 5 (but decide to make it really hot to save you having to repeat it again).
  10. Take hot water upstairs with cleaning cloth old t-shirt.
  11. Add “buy cleaning cloths” to to-do list.
  12. Put hand in water and remember that it is now really hot. Ow.
  13. Start to clean.
  14. Go and fetch duster for child who has now appeared at the door and decided he wants to help after all.
  15. Hand duster to child.
  16. Go and fetch polish for child as duster alone “won’t clean it properly”, apparently.
  17. Take duster and squirt tiny amount of polish on it.
  18. Hand duster back to child.
  19. Warn child to keep away from bowl of water.
  20. Continue cleaning.
  21. Repeat steps 17 and 18 as there is apparently still not enough polish.
  22. Repeat step 20.
  23. Repeat steps 17 and 18.
  24. Repeat step 19.
  25. Repeat step 19.
  26. Repeat steps 17 and 18.
  27. Move bowl of water to higher location (making everything significantly more difficult for oneself).
  28. Pick up and tidy away all child’s things once he has decided that 3 minutes of “dusting” is enough and he wants to go back downstairs and play.
  29. Go downstairs to make sure everything is ok and he is playing safely.
  30. Go back upstairs and successfully clean one corner of skirting board.
  31. Realise child has been quiet for a long time.
  32. Go downstairs to see that he has single-handedly eaten at least 10 clementines and is proudly sat with empty packet reminding me to buy some more (damn him being able to peel clementines).
  33. Make mental note to keep an eye on his stomach and avoid fruit for the rest of the day.
  34. Be grateful that it was at least a healthy binge, and not a box of chocolates.
  35. Realise there is no longer enough time to do much more cleaning before preschool run, so have another coffee.
  36. Go to pick up eldest child from preschool.
  37. Buy clementines and cleaning cloths en route.
  38. Return home and decide that that is enough cleaning for one day and leave it for husband to finish on Saturday.

*This may or may not be definitive; previous attempts at cleaning have involved additional steps – we avoided a tumble into the bowl of water, and all of the resulting clean-up steps this time, for example.

Two Tiny Hands
Dear Bear and Beany
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

21 thoughts on “Cleaning with Children

  1. Ha ha! Never easy is it!? I would add accidentally Hoover the child then traumatise him for life!! Oops there goes my helpful child cleaner!


  2. This is absolutely spot on! There’s something especially interesting about dusting to toddlers and my son is exactly the same – must have his own cloth, and he’s not fooled when I just pretend to squirt some polish on something, it has to be the real thing! And then instantly wants more! I do my absolute best to leave all cleaning until the weekend 🙂 Thanks so much for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove


  3. Haha! The cheeky grin on the photos. My little girl is better if it’s just us. When my husband is home she always wants to be involved. If it’s just us she doesn’t care haha.

    Spot on post!



  4. This is us too. I used to always try and tidy up my toddlers toys after he’d appeared to have finished playing with them. But after one afternoon where I put his duplo away 3 times, I decided I was wasting my time. As for washing up, the minute I run the tap he clings to my leg and wants to be picked up. Who needs a clean house anyway lol? #sharingthebloglove


  5. I love a good mega Christmas clean up too! This year I didn’t get to clean as much as I’d like as our youngest was poorly and woke up a lot in the night – which is my only chance to clean!!
    Cleaning with kids is never easy! Think about how clean and shine our homes will be when they’re all grown up! This is the only part of having grown up children im looking forward to, ha!!


  6. It’s nice to know everyone struggles to clean when the kids are around!

    My new favourite way to clean is wait until he weekend then demand daddy watches the human while mommy cleans then entire house as lightening speed!



  7. Love this it is so hard to clean your house when Children are little. I would love s blog post on how to store Lego and keep it in order as it’s an endless task at the moment X


  8. I can relate to this. I’ve just gone back to work and I think one of the main reasons so I can justify outsourcing the cleaning to a cleaner (god forbid the husband lifts a finger). Some may say extreme measures…!!! #kcacols


  9. hahahah yes lots of repeating! It can be torturous 🙂 I find though that if I dont clean up the toys around little miss, she wont play with them at all. So i put them away just so she can take them out again and actually play. madness #KCACOLS


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