Most of my mom’s friends have a love-hate relationship with Pesach. They love spending time with their families and the days off from school and work but they hate (hate!) the cleaning, the cooking and (dare I say it again?) the cleaning. I find that my friends and I have a more neutral relationship with Pesach – we’re looking for chametz, not dust. And good enough is an excellent mantra.
Say it with me. Good Enough.
You know what else is Good Enough? Looking through the big bin of Lego for pretzel pieces is Good Enough. Washing each piece of Lego? That’s too much. And if you really feel the need to wash the Lego – and that’s an okay feeling to have – how about locking up the Lego for Pesach instead? Or washing only some pieces so your seven-year-old won’t miss it, and putting the rest away?
The way I see it, I have two choices: I can clean weeks in advance, and Spring clean my entire house – and then yell at my kids anytime they so much as look at a cookie – or I can wait and then clean very quickly and thoroughly two days before Pesach. I always choose the second option; I don’t like all the yelling.
I am a big believer in a very thorough but very quick clean. I know where my kids eat and I know where they don’t eat and I know where the hot zones are. I also know that no one can clean in a vacuum* and around this house, everyone pitches in; it makes no difference how old you are. We all live here, we all help.
Here, a few tried and true and kid-tested Cleaning with Kids rules to live by:
Be happy while you clean. If your kids see you smiling and laughing with them while you clean, they will too. Put on some music and get to it. Cleaning for Pesach isn’t so bad. Remember, you’re looking for crumbs, not dust. Do you eat on the ceiling fan? No? Good. Move on, you can clean the fan next month.
Make a list and check it twice. No really. Make a list of everything that has to get to done and then break that list down into smaller lists, one for each kid, and one for the husband too. My kids love a list. And they love checking things off the list. Bonus points for the mom who hands out clipboards with the lists. And the last item on the list? Go for ice cream. Everyone deserves something to look forward to at the end of a long day of cleaning.
Give the kids the tools they need. If you want the floor behind the couch swept by a four-year-old – who, by the way, is totally capable of doing that – then that four-year-old needs a child-sized broom. Pick one up for a buck at the dollar store and you’ve just turned your little one into a helper for life.
Another good investment? A dust-buster. My five year old can clean her room, but a full size vacuum is much too heavy for her to push. Enter the dust-buster. She loves it, she’s happy to help and she even knows how to empty it when it gets full. With her trusty dust-buster in hand, she’s been known to walk from bedroom to bedroom, asking if she can clean under the beds and in closets. Sometimes she even wears a cape because she’s a SuperCleaner!