Cleaning the bathroom - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 03-23-2009, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know other people manage to do things like clean their bathrooms while their kids are awake.

And I do manage it, but it's a bit of a fiasco if I try to do it when both of my kids (4 and 2) are around. I'm sure there must be others who do a better job than I do.

Today, for example, they took turns reasonably well spraying cleaner onto the various surfaces in the room and sort of mopping it up with rags. They required a bit of intervention from me to enforce reasonable turn-taking, but this did go OK for long enough for me to clean the sink and the window, the latter a fairly time-consuming task.

By the time I started cleaning the toilet, it had degenerated into spraying each other with the cleaner and wrapping each other up in the shower curtain, both of which caused complaining and, in the case of the shower curtain, nervousness on my part that they would tear it down. I suppose I could have draped the shower curtain up out of the way before we started, but they'd never done that before so I didn't think of it at the time.

Either of them individually is fine helping me clean the bathroom -- they stay reasonably on task and while they are not all that genuinely helpful, they at least do what I ask. So this is a task that is familiar to them, they understand what to do, and like doing it. It's the two of them together that make me want to tear my hair out!

Anyone have any suggestions on how I can better manage the interaction between them to make it possible for such chores to be accomplished with less frustration on my part? Or at least some comforting words on how old they will need to be before it's less of an issue?

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
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#2 of 24 Old 03-23-2009, 07:47 PM
 
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I didn't. I did it when they were asleep or watching tv. As a result, our house didn't get cleaned as much as I like.

Now that my kids are 4 and 7, we have a 15 minute chore time after dinner where we clean. The key here is that dh and I are both there so we can divide and conquer the kids. (Though realistically, it's only dd (4) who needs intervention.)

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#3 of 24 Old 03-23-2009, 07:47 PM
 
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I generally send my boys off to play when I clean, especially the bathroom! But I do sometimes (and used to always) clean the bathroom while they're in the tub. My oldest helps with every day upkeep (like wiping out the sink after we brush our teeth at night) and they all clean up after themselves in the bathroom, but I think I'll wait until they're older to have them help clean the toilet or anything
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#4 of 24 Old 03-23-2009, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I generally send my boys off to play when I clean, especially the bathroom!
I don't know if this is good or bad, but I can't send them off to play because they won't go. They prefer to help clean the bathroom.

And well, knowing how to clean the bathroom is a valuable life skill, so I don't think I really want to discourage them from helping out with it, even if I'd get done in half the time if I did it by myself...

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
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#5 of 24 Old 03-23-2009, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
Now that my kids are 4 and 7, we have a 15 minute chore time after dinner where we clean. The key here is that dh and I are both there so we can divide and conquer the kids. (Though realistically, it's only dd (4) who needs intervention.)
Thank you, this gives me hope for the future. :-)

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
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#6 of 24 Old 03-23-2009, 09:04 PM
 
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I don't know if this is good or bad, but I can't send them off to play because they won't go. They prefer to help clean the bathroom.

And well, knowing how to clean the bathroom is a valuable life skill, so I don't think I really want to discourage them from helping out with it, even if I'd get done in half the time if I did it by myself...
I totally hear you. But having my 2yo in the bathroom with me while I'm cleaning would result in the bathroom being much worse at the end than at the beginning, and possibly some biokleen in the eyes. i certainly don't discourage cleaning of any kind, but there are some things that my 2yo shouldn't help me with. They all do pick up in the living room, wipe down the table/their chair, fold things according to ability, etc.
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#7 of 24 Old 03-23-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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Honestly, I would assign areas. Give one child the tub, and one the mirror. Give them each their own sprayer, and for safety's sake, I'd make my own cleaner from vinegar and water for a while.

I usually clean when the little ones are in the tub and playing.

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#8 of 24 Old 03-23-2009, 11:16 PM
 
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The bathroom's one area I didn't encourage my son to help in. In fact I've made it a big deal that he can't clean the toilet bowl until he's SEVEN, so now whenever I clean it, he hangs around outside begging to clean it at SIX. Reverse psychology.

I used to put up a baby gate that had clear plastic and let him 'clean' the gate from the other side, and clean his bath toys (in the hallway).

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#9 of 24 Old 03-23-2009, 11:29 PM
 
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when i'm cleaning something that i don't want help with, i provide spray bottles of pkain water and rags for wiping. as they get older, i gradually add tiny amounts of cleaning product to the water. it gave me a shiver to read that yours were spraying each other with cleaning products!

they will wash windows, mirrors, chairs, floors, toys, etc = and i never have to worry. maybe things get extra wet, but so what. and they EACH get a bottle, so that taking turns doesn't become fighting.

of course, i don't clean anything with toxic products, even the toilet (Dr. Bronners, and a swish), so i never worried about little ones getting involved.

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#10 of 24 Old 03-23-2009, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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it gave me a shiver to read that yours were spraying each other with cleaning products!
The cleaning product was harmless, obviously I wouldn't have been letting them help if it had been otherwise.

Perhaps I should buy another spray bottle so they could both have one.

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
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#11 of 24 Old 03-24-2009, 12:56 AM
 
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Luckily I only have one "helper" right now, the others to young to help. I don't really expect things to get to clean while she is awake and wanting to help. For the bathroom, lately, Ive been giving her a spray bottle (of plain water) and putting her in the tub or shower. She "cleans" the tub while I clean the rest of the area.
Now when my baby gets old enough to want to "help" I have no idea what Im going to do.. These two are already double trouble when they are together and the baby is only 4 months old.

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#12 of 24 Old 03-24-2009, 09:52 AM
 
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I only do it when they are asleep or DH is playing with them. I do only clean with vinegar and baking soda, and did buy an extra spray bottle that I filled with water so DS1 could "help" when he was smaller, but he's on to me and is no longer interested in "helping" LOL

As someone else said, waiting for an opportunity means my house is not as clean as I would like. I figure I'll have tons of time to clean in a few years
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#13 of 24 Old 03-24-2009, 04:15 PM
 
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I have to second the vote for cleaning it while they're in the tub. That's what I always did for the floors, toilet and sink. The tub/shower I clean while I'm in it myself (I scrub it with a ScotchBrite scrubber and some body wash), and then I rinse the walls down after I get out. I can't even imagine trying to get the bathroom clean while two kids are spraying each other and playing with the curtain! It would end up more of a mess than when I started!
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#14 of 24 Old 03-24-2009, 05:23 PM
 
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I clean the bathroom while DD is in the tub. She "cleans" the tub, walls, shower door etc while I do the rest. "I " clean the tub the next morning before I shower.

There's plenty of time for them to learn to clean the bathroom when they are a bit older and calmer.
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#15 of 24 Old 03-24-2009, 05:28 PM
 
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Yeah I would buy them water bottles that they can spray each other.

My biggest problem if I clean when I am home alone with the kids is that they make a bigger mess somewhere else while I am cleaning.

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#16 of 24 Old 03-24-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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I make h watch them while I close the door & get it done as fast as possible (even faster now with a new baby )

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#17 of 24 Old 03-24-2009, 08:59 PM
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My DD is 3 now and I can do it with her in the tub. When she was younger I'd ask DH if he wanted to clean the bathroom or keep DD busy. Usually he'd take her to the bedroom or outside to play. Bathrooms are too germ and mildew ridden to let DD help till she is older.
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#18 of 24 Old 03-24-2009, 11:44 PM
 
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Another vote here for cleaning it while they're in the tub! then I do the tub when I shower. That way, it gets done pretty regularly so doesn't have a chance to get too gross. Also, I only use vinegar & water so there aren't any harmful fumes or anything. Any other cleaning, they can help with (they get their own spray bottles & cloth) but our washroom is wayyyyy too tiny.

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#19 of 24 Old 03-25-2009, 06:30 AM
 
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The trick is to have one 'deep cleaning' day and just keep tidy the rest of the time.
My 'deep cleaning' day is Saturday or Sunday - a day when DH is home. If DS would rather 'help' me, I give him a dry sponge and ask him to do other things in the house for me that is near the bathroom, such as dusting the skirting boards which is a job I hate to do but he loves to 'help' and feel involved.
I also use all natural cleaning products so its no big issue of DS gets ahold of them (and im too lazy to make my own, so yeah, I buy them lol).
And not that anyone suggests it - gasp horror - but clean more! Im a virgo and have OCD...I clean so often that its not something ever questioned. I have a routine with my cleaning as well so DS knows what to expect. If I feel 'lazy', he will even tell me what needs doing now! hehe Tidy up after yourself, always. Clean the dishes as soon as you are done using them, always. Clean out the fridge every monday morning. Clean the bathroom every Sunday. Hoover three times a day and as needed. Cleaning is just a part of life - especially ours. Mind, I have no friends who are as clean as we are with a house as tidy (and its not the end of the world if its not of course, I never leave my son to cry or with needs unmet just to clean!!!) - and maybe thats fine for others, but they always seem to have a problem with how to do it with children around when they do attempt to clean something. So, clean more - often! Make it a part of your everyday life just like eating and playing and sleeping, etc!

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#20 of 24 Old 03-25-2009, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm glad to learn that most people don't seem to have any better luck in this situation than I do.

Cleaning the bathroom while the kids are in the tub isn't possible in the particular bathroom I was referring to, because it has no bathtub. Our other bathroom does have a bathtub, but my husband handles bathtime, and that's not an arrangement I'm particularly interested in changing.

Anyway, I appreciate all the responses!

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
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#21 of 24 Old 03-25-2009, 09:20 AM
 
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I clean the bathroom while DD is in the tub. She "cleans" the tub, walls, shower door etc while I do the rest. "I " clean the tub the next morning before I shower.
This is what we do to.

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#22 of 24 Old 03-25-2009, 09:42 AM
 
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Dh does most of the bathroom cleaning here. I will do spot cleaning in there when the kids are distracted.

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#23 of 24 Old 03-25-2009, 10:40 AM
 
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Spray bottles with plain water, rags, child size mop, bucket (with a tiny bit) of water, child size broom. Keeps them engaged, busy, and feeling like they are genuinely helpful... and you can get stuff done too.

Also, even the smallest child can be taught to fold handtowels/washcloths/cloth diapers - my 22 month old will do this with his sister, and it keeps them super busy, and generally on the same task as I am (cleaning).

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#24 of 24 Old 03-25-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
In fact I've made it a big deal that he can't clean the toilet bowl until he's SEVEN, so now whenever I clean it, he hangs around outside begging to clean it at SIX. Reverse psychology.
.
you are a genius


Great ideas here and a comfort to know that I'm not the only one that struggles to have a clean house

and
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