Clean it up! {How to let your young child help with the vacuuming}

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

{ Image Credit: NurseyBangBang }

Young children love to help with daily activities that they see you complete time after time.  Perhaps it is setting the table.  Maybe it is loading or unloading the dishwasher, or feeding the dog.  These tasks are all appropriate for young children with the appropriate supervision.  However, if your children are like mine, the chores that involve cleaners or electrical power are even more interesting to them, especially the vacuum cleaner.

Our full-size vacuum cleaner is tall, heavy, and difficult to push, even for an adult.  We have a lot of carpet in our house, so believe me that if I felt it was safe or "doable" for my children to help (ages 4 & under), I would be excited to let them try.  But between the size of the vacuum and the concern about the safety of the moving parts & ultra-suction, this particular chore was on my "wait until they are older" list.

This all changed when I purchased a stick vacuum at a Black Friday sale this past Christmas.  Not only did I get an incredible deal, but I figured it would be easy just to keep the stick vacuum to use as a quick crumbs sweeper after meals and snacks in the kitchen where we have hard flooring.  It works great for this, but we came to realize it also makes a wonderful vacuum for children to use!

The stick vacuums are lighter weight, often have adjustable height handles, and have no brush roll to pose a safety hazard.  We purchased a Bissell 3-in-1 Vac which has worked out great.  Ours was blue, which I can't find that color anymore to link to for you, but Walmart sells one in silver or pink and Amazon sells what looks like the same one only they call it a different name:

They are light, have a reasonable length cord, and are bagless.  They can also be used as a hand vac.  The 3-in-1 that we have doesn't require you to buy replacement filters, you can just clean out the dirt cup and the filter with simple soap and water and let them air dry.  They are generally around $20 unless you get them on sale, which is actually less than most non-working toy vacuums.  They work very well to get up the crumbs and any dust bunnies or pet hair, grass clippings or glitter off hard floors.  On carpeting they obviously aren't as good as a full-size brush roll vacuum, but they will pick up surface dirt and lint. 

I instructed my oldest child (4 years old) how to use the vacuum, although we require him to let an adult to plug in the vacuum and unplug it from the socket.  The younger children watched him and wanted to have a go, and they have done wonderfully as well.  Our littlest toddler just holds a bit farther down the handle when she pushes it, which works just fine.  Now instead of it being another item on my "to-do" list, my children have enthusiastically taken it off my hands (and can't wait until it is their turn!).

Happy clean home!


Stephanie said...

That is awesome! I bought a floor sweeper for my daughter (age 2). It doesnt require electricty, but now I dont think she thinks its as fun as it could be! :) This is a GREAT idea!

SimplyMontessori said...

I bet she'll love it! :)


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