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Race the clock. Work together as a group to empty the toy box to check for crumbs. But do it before the timer buzzes! My kids will do just about anything to beat the timer, even my oldest and he’s at that pre-preteen age where he thinks most everything I say is, you know, worthy of an eye roll. And just for the record, I don’t like that.



Meet your new best friend. Baby wipes. These little guys can do everything. Hand them out to the 2-6 year-old set and get them working. My kids clean the kitchen floor with baby wipes in between moppings and they love it. It might sound weird, but I taught them how to kneel on a dishtowel if their knees start to hurt and for some reason, it cracks them up. But you know what – my kitchen floor is clean, so all I can say is whatever.

When you’re making the kids’ cleaning lists, you might want to consider adding these chores – there’s a lot of shaking on this list, but that’s okay. A little exercise never hurt anyone.

1. Shake out the pockets of the coats in the closet. Bonus: they get to keep any money they find.

2. Shake out all their books. Crumbs like to hide between the pages. But remind them not to sit down and read all the books. They can read on Pesach.

3. Look under the beds with a flashlight. My kids will do anything for a flashlight.

4. Empty and shake out their backpacks outside.  Just a note: You might want to take a quick look inside the backpacks too; they may need a quick trip through the washing machine.

Now that your lists are made and you’ve picked your day (or two) of cleaning and circled it on the calendar, we can take a minute to be totally honest: At the end of the day, it’s much easier to clean when the kids are napping or in school or at night when everyone is sleeping. It might even be easier to send the kids to a babysitter for a day or two as well. But the truth is, we’re not just cleaning for Pesach here. We’re teaching life skills – and the younger a child learns that being a member of the family means being part of a team, the better it is for him, for you and for the person that that child ultimately marries.

And remember – dirt, it’s cool. It’s fine. You can clean dirt all year long. These days, we’re going after chametz, pure and simple. Don’t turn Pesach cleaning into something it’s not.


*Get it? Alone? In a vacuum? Not with a vacuum? Okay, I was laughing.


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Jen Wise is a work-at-home mother to a bunch of kids somewhere in New Jersey. She's also a freelance writer, an art teacher and a pediatric nutrition coach.


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