My Imagination Cleans My House

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Poof! Your house is clean. Wouldn’t it be so nice if it was really that easy? Cleaning your home is challenging, especially with little peanut butter-fingered people running around, constantly making messes that make you feel like you’re living Bill Murry’s life on Groundhog Day. My kids have their own responsibilities, even at a young age, to help clean up around the house and do their part. But sadly, I cannot force them to clean my entire house, so I found a way to include them in projects I need to complete throughout the day. 

This got me thinking, how do I incorporate them and still let them have some fun while I feel productive? That’s when I put my imagination into high gear to find creative ways we can play together while I can still put a fulfilling mark through the endless amount of household projects on my to-do list. 

Changing the Sheets

It all started with changing the sheets because this is one task I clearly cannot do once they are in bed. My oldest, who was only two at the time, would help me change the sheets, but instead of sheets, we pretended they were tarps that needed to go on our boat because a giant rainstorm was coming. He would help me pull the fitted sheet on, or he may pretend to hop on a lifeboat (pillow on the ground) to prepare for the storm. It became this really fun game we still play together now three years later. And I can always get that household chore done without feeling guilty because I’m not spending time with my kids and/or helping them with a separate activity. 

Vacuuming

I know if you have little ones, PJ Masks or any time of superhero activity is probably played in your household daily. Whether I am vacuuming Cheerios off our hardwood floors or pet hair off our carpets around the house, I pretend to be the bad guy (i.e., picture me as Evil Romeo) trying to get the PJ Masks or suck up some of their toys! My boys will jump from couch to couch to try to stop me from completing my task as I yell “I’ll get you PJ Pests” at them countless times. They put their Spidey or Cat Boy dress-up masks and capes on to try to fight the bad guys while I get to check another box item off my cleaning to-do list. 

Dishes

Ugh, this is my absolute least favorite chore to do in the house, but it is probably one that annoys me the most when dishes are piled high and I’m scraping ketchup off plastic plates that have been sitting there a little too long. This one is simple, our imaginative play is water-based and you can come up with many different scenarios that would fit your child’s interests. We like to have some sort of race to see how quickly we can get through the dishes, as I despise spending too much time on this task. 

Laundry

Again, this is a bit more of a race to see how quickly I can fold the laundry, but it also turns into my kids jumping in the clean sheets to pretend they are jumping into a pool on a hot day. When trying to fold the sheets, we create a parachute-type game where we have to hide from someone who is trying to find us. Then, of course, once we eventually get to putting the clothing away (many times, days later), we pretend the laundry baskets are cars, and we “drive” them around the house. Empty laundry baskets have endless possibilities for imaginative play based on your child’s interests. 

My house will never be spotless, and I could use more time cleaning milk stains off my floors and dirt and grime (and other gross things) in my bathrooms. But adding imagination into our daily chore routine has helped me find small successes or accomplishments during the day and still spend quality time with my kids playing. They do not know any difference, as long as they can spend time together and have fun. And if cleaning is still not your thing? That’s okay. Hire a cleaning crew. 

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