Helping Hands

Whoever said that many hands make light work has never tried to complete simple household chores with a 2 and 4 year old.

A while ago I asked my kids if they felt “strong” enough to help me rip the sheets off of my bed. Oh they felt strong enough all right. I left my room for less than 30 seconds to grab a new set of sheets from my bathroom only to return to two ghost-like shapes poking from under my mattress cover.

They had crawled under the bottom-most sheet and were using it as a tent.

I read somewhere when I was a brand new mom that you should rest when your child rests, eat when they eat, sleep when they sleep, etc. Well, I have tried to take that advice but it’s too hard for me. If I do that, not only do I leave out any extra time for myself, but I leave out any cleaning time. So, I took another approach and decided to enlist their help while cleaning.

I don’t know if that was a good decision. Sometimes my boys are too “helpful.”

You should see me try to clean our fish tank with their help. One of them helps scrape algae off the glass while the other holds the siphoning hose’s end in to the water bucket. Not only do we end up nearly killing Nemo, but inevitably the hose gets dropped and we splash water all over the wall, ceiling, floor and ourselves as we try to suck the tanks rocks clean.

How many of you have tried to clean your bathroom with your young kids’ help? No matter how many times I tell my 2-year-old to stand back while I’m using bleach cleaner on the bathtub, he still ends up with a bleached out streak across his clothes near his tummy. The curiosity is too much for him and he has to lean over the ceramic edge.

Dusting is also pretty fun for us. My boys fight about who gets to be the “sprayer.” Then whoever wins that battle usually wastes half the bottle of furniture polish because he likes the way it foams. My shelves definitely get shiny. Just don’t hop quickly onto our piano bench on any day we’ve dusted. You’ll launch yourself across the room.

Vacuuming has got to be one of the hardest chores to get done with their “help.” They both love it so they fight, scream and yell for their “turn.” That’s one chore I wish I could do while they were sleeping.

I don’t know what the answer is. I could clean after they went to bed but then they wouldn’t learn how to help. They really would think a fairy came in the night to clean things up.

I think it’s good to have their help. It’s good to teach them how to do chores. I just have to make sure to clean on days that I have a lot of patience saved up. For many times their helpful cleaning leads to more messes. Maybe they have the saying wrong, it’s not that many hands make light work but its many helpful hands make light work.

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