One of my favorite ways to start the week is sticking Will and Kjel in the bath after we've taken Gage to school, and cleaning the upstairs. I have a house that works for this, though I know in some houses it would be unwise to put your kids in the bath and leave the room. Lucky for us, our upstairs is totally open. So I stick them in the tub, dump in a bunch of toys, open all the windows and doors, and start cleaning.
I usually start in Merit's room and just pick up as fast as I can. Then Gage's room, the hall, Kjel's room, then me and Steven's room. Once it's all picked up and everything is put away, I vacuum. Vacuuming is tricker because I get horrid anxiety that in the 20 seconds the vacuum has been on, one or both of the kids have drowned. Fortunately, my kids are smart in the bath, and I can hear them and see them. Anyway, to keep Merit busy, I lay her down in whatever room I'm in and surround her with toys and board books. She loves to lay on her tummy and just look at each item.
When she gets whiny, I sit in the hallway right next to the tub and chat with the kids while I hold her and nurse or just play with her. The thing is though, the kids really hate it when I chat with them while they're bathing. They love the bath. They rarely fight or get crazy now (it used to be a problem) they just each grab their own armful of toys and play, play, play.
I can usually get the whole upstairs picked up and vacuumed before Kjel's ready to get out. She calls out, "I'm reaaaaaady!" And I come in with the conditioner and get her cleaned. I have learned not to stand there waiting for a child to get out. If I do, I end up waiting forever. Kids like to take their time getting out of the tub. So I get her clean then leave a towel on the potty for her. She takes her time getting out, drying off, then I leave some clean panties on her bed for her. She likes to choose her own outfits. Once she's dressed we brush hair and teeth and clean out ears.
Will likes to be alone in the tub. So he relishes the few minutes after Kjel's gotten out. He spreads out and plays with all the toys. I use this time to have Kjel "watch" Merit (really lie down next to her and talk away), and clean the bathroom. I am a speed-cleaner. The problem with our kids bathroom is that it never looks sparkling clean! The sink is a weird material and it's off-white. Hate that. But I do my best. By the time I'm finishing up, Will is ready to get out. Same deal, except that he needs me to lift him out.
My time is up, but I will write more about using the bath as a good cleaning tool later :).