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Doing Housework with Your Children's "Help"

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
  • Get incredibly excited that you are about to parent well.

  • Hype children up to “help Mommy/Daddy.” Make it sound like a game.

  • Believe that “starting them young” is going to make a bit of difference.


  • Hand children duster cloth. Show them how to gently wipe up dust.

  • Select “safe” portion of shelf with no breakables. You may need to create this by removing said breakables. Tell children to dust there. Begin dusting the rest.

  • Watch in horror as cloud of dust rises from kids’ shelf, resettling on the part you just dusted.

  • Wonder how the hell they suck at dusting. The cloth literally picks the dust up. Theirs is totally clean despite vigorous “dusting”. How? Just…how?


  • Encourage children to pick up stuff the vacuum should not ingest. Follow behind them picking up the things they missed.

  • Realize that the trail of unsuckable things seems to be growing rather than shrinking. Find children actively pulling out new toys and leaving them in vacuum target area.

  • Place children on couch and do this bit yourself.

  • Get out vacuum. Realize someone failed to empty the dust bin after last vacuum. If in partnership, think of snide comment for later use. If single, blame the pet. Empty dust bin.

  • Chase children around house with vacuum. Wonder briefly if this is damaging them. If they are laughing, more chasing. If they are crying, laugh while chasing.


  • Encourage children to gather stray clothes and rags that have accumulated across domicile.

  • Realize about five minutes in they are pulling already clean laundry from closets, dressers and/or piles into hamper.

  • Fish off the first couple of items but be unable to remember by the third if they wore that one or not. Decide to wash them all.

  • Tell children they are going to get to drop stuff in the washing machine. This will excite them because that’s literally all they do, drop stuff.

  • Open washer to find old load not moved over to dryer. Because your children are expecting to “help”, universal law states that this load will have been in there for too long and now smells like frog armpits.

  • Restart washer. Let each child drop in a single sock so as not to break your promise.


  • Suggest a brief screentime or snack break. Use this opportunity to remove all glass, ceramic, knives, and other breakables and/or sharps from dishwasher.

  • Once dishes have been childproofed, leaving pretty much just their stuff and a cereal bowl, allow children to unload dishwasher.

  • Decide the plate your smallest kid just licked is going to be theirs tonight and will not need to return to the dishwasher.

  • Once dishwasher is unloaded, begin rinsing old food off new load.

  • If in partnership, vow to threaten other adult lives if they don’t start rinsing their damn dishes after a meal. Include actionable phrases like “It’s not that hard.” These are always effective motivators. If single, vow to begin rinsing dishes after a meal.

  • Hand kid-safe dishes to children to add to dishwasher. Wonder how you have accumulated this many dirty dishes since last load.

  • After all kid-safe dishes are loaded, return children to screen or snack. Rearrange everything children loaded so you can fit the rest of the dishes in dishwasher. Run dishwasher.


  • Decide that is probably enough “helping” with chores for today. Because children are currently occupied with screen or snack, sneak into hiding spot and enjoy “special treat” you keep hidden there.



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