How to get your kids to clean the kitchen table

April 6th, 2009 by Robert

First let me provide some context for this story. As you can see below, we have a collection of messy eaters. We leave food on the table after meals because the kids may return to finish it later. In this picture I found Hani cleaning up after everyone’s breakfast (he was hungry that day). There’s a tablecloth on in this picture but Nickalus used to use tablecloths to pull everyone’s bowl to him (the ones that didn’t fall off the table on the way) before he learned to get out of his seat, so we stopped using tablecloths except for special occasions.
Hani Eating on the Table
As you can imagine the table gets layers of encrusted food (sort of like stalagmites) that get thicker over time and become very difficult to clean. One day when Candice was talking with a preschool teacher, she learned about a good way to clean up tables with shaving cream.
All Five Kids Cleaning the Table
I even saw Demitri’s kindergarten teacher using shaving cream on a table with the students so they could write letters in it at the parents night last fall. So we decided we would make a game of it and have all the kids clean the table one Sunday morning before breakfast. We put all the kids at the table and squirted a bunch of shaving cream on it and told them to play in it. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves and I got a few good pictures.

Nickalus having fun with the shaving cream
Nickalus got some on his face and decided to try and lick it off – luckily his tongue is not long enough to reach. He must have gotten into some leftover pizza before breakfast that day, which explains the red sauce all over his face.

Demitri wants to wash his hair
Then Demitri had the great idea to wash his hair with the shaving cream – which is fine since then we didn’t need to use shampoo later 🙂

Nickalus wants to wash his hair too
Then Nickalus wanted to be like Demitri – or was it Nickalus who started it? I can’t remember. But Nickalus’ hair is so fine that he didn’t need any water to make suds.

Table is so clean you can see your reflection
Finally, after about half an hour of “cleaning” the table and subsequent baths in the sink for at least a couple of the kids (the ones with shaving cream in their hair also got their hair washed), we wiped up the table and it was so clean you could see your reflection in it!

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