When you have kids, especially any under the age of 5, it can be difficult to get ANY task complete, let alone any cleaning. So today Im going to give you some tips on how to include your children in your chores so that they are not a distraction, and possibly even a help. First lets start with infants. The best way to clean with an infant in the house, is when the baby sleeps. Even if your baby only takes 20 minute naps, you will be surprised what you can get done in that time if you use it correctly. Try to do any scrubbing, or use of chemicals (bathroom cleaning/oven cleaning etc.) while the baby is away from your arms. Just be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before picking baby up again. This would be a valuable time to do any dusting as well. Dusting while baby is asleep and away, will keep the dust from harming baby. If you prefer to use baby’s nap time as your own nap time as recommended by specialists when dealing with a newborn, then when baby is awake, take advantage of one of those front baby carriers. You know, the kind where baby is strapped to your front. This allows you to still have that body to body connection with baby as you get things accomplished yourself. With baby on board, you could do things such as load the dishwasher, laundry, and if you are lucky enough to have a baby who loves the sound of a vacuum, you can use baby’s tummy time as vacuum time for you.
On to toddlers. These guys are fun. And independent. Or so they think so. They know everything and you know nothing. Including toddlers in the housework is key to success. When doing laundry, wash all towels and cloths first. When all loads are ready to be folded, give your toddler the basket of towels and cloths. You could even include linen as a “big” bonus for the little one’s hard work. Show your toddler the simple 4-fold way to fold linen. They should be able to mimic. As long as you don’t have a mount everest pile of laundry, you should be able to get most if not all completed by the time your toddler has. Ran out of towels, cloths, and sheets? Give your little one all socks and ask them to match them. Another great way is their clothes. They may even want to help put them away. This encourages positive independence early. And happens to come in handy for you. Another chore you can include your walking tot in is loading the dishwasher. Maybe save the glassware and knives for yourself, but pots, pans, plastics, etc are safe for baby to assist with. You could take turns and just make all danger items on your turn. We could do the same with laundry. When transferring laundry, hand the items to your tot and let them put them in the dryer. Even lift them to turn the machine on. The thing with children is they just want to feel they are valued and helpful. Anything at all, no matter how small is like the world to a toddler. Sweeping? Let them hold the dust pan for you. Mopping? Let them have a few strokes at it. Windows dirty? Nothing is more fun to a kid than having a squirt bottle and being able to use it. Water down some windex and give your child their own bottle, a cloth, and two particular windows to wash. As they work on theirs, you can get the rest of the windows in the house. You could also use the window technique as a distraction as you do other chores. They will be busy making sure those windows shine as you take care of what you need to. You can include a walking child in almost anything, just think small and simple.
With so many different ways of sharing our tips and tricks for cleaning these days, it can be hard to tell which to choose. I will be giving three different “This vs. That” scenarios and comparing them, with a winner in each.
First up is vinegar vs. bleach. I talk a lot about vinegar being a go-to when making a homemade cleaner. But does it disinfect as well as bleach? The simple answer is no. Although it does sanitize SOME, its percentages are not the same as bleach. Vinegar is about 90% effective on bacteria vs. 99% with bleach. Viruses, mold and mildew stand next to zero chance of survival when dealing with bleach with 99.9% effectiveness. Vinegar, however, only kills about 80% of viruses, mold and mildew. So to sum up, if you really cant stand the smell and chemicals in bleach, vinegar is an alternative, but it does NOT work as well. My advice is if you don’t want to use bleach, soap and water can be more effective than vinegar if used well.
Second up, is antibacterial soap vs. regular soap. Does antibacterial soap really kill more germs than plain old soap and water? No need to waste your time, the answer is no. The CDC has stated “To date, studies have shown that there is no added health benefit for consumers (this does not include professionals in the healthcare setting) using soaps containing antibacterial ingredients compared with using plain soap. CDC looks forward to any future data about the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial consumer products and will continue to adjust recommendations based on the best available science.”
Our last battle consists of disinfecting wipes vs. disinfecting sprays. In this battle, there is no winner. It’s a tie as far as the numbers go. It simply depends on your preference and convenience. If the surface you are disinfecting may have some dirt on it, you may want to use the wipes to ensure all particles are picked up and thrown away. When using a spray, just make sure to NOT rinse the surface. This will defeat the purpose entirely.
In all summary, first, bleach is your best surface cleaner if you don’t mind the smell. Many types of bleach have scented versions these days. Second, don’t spend those few extra dollars on the “antibacterial” version of soap because the regular kind is just as effective. Lastly, weather you use wipes or sprays to disinfect your home surfaces, you will be getting the same efficiency.