Letting Kids Help When You’re A Control Freak


Help is supposed to make a job easier, but all moms know that letting kids help can make a job twice as hard!


Anyone else an OCD control freak like me? I sometimes feel like a complete nut because I know logically the things I am stressing over are not important in the grand scheme of things; however, my anxiety sure makes me feel like they are. What makes this even trickier is that my boys love to help around the house. Now, this is a marvelous thing, except they do not do any of the things ‘correctly.’ I work incredibly hard to keep my mouth shut because in no way do I want to crush their self-esteem or discourage them from being helpful. Over time though, I have become a bit more creative in asking if they will ‘help’ with certain household tasks that won’t drive me insane. The dishwasher is clearly off-limits because we all know there is only one right way to load that thing (and it’s our way). 


letting kids help as they put laundry from the basket away


  1. Laundry. If you are one of those mamas that separate all the whites, darks, and towels, God bless you. That is not my jam. I also don’t do dry cleaning, way too many brain cells required. Anyways, my kids love ‘making baskets’ in the washing machine with their clothes. I buy the laundry pods simply because it is much easier for them to toss one in, grab the step stool, and press the start button. They do need a helping hand to get the clean clothes out and into the dryer, but overall it’s a great task for helping hands! 
  2. Vacuuming. I’m not talking about the full-on nitty-gritty vacuuming. I’m talking about a quick sweep to get all of the pop tart crumbs, granola bar droppings, and other random particles that seem to double by the minute. We have a super cheap little stick vacuum that is strictly my 8-year-old’s. He loves that it is his, and it’s easy for him to push around. WIN!
  3. Trash & Recycling. This, like most things, is turned into a game in our house. With two boys, pretty much everything is a competition. So pretty much each evening after dinner, the boys race to see who can put the trash and/or recycling in the bin faster. Like laundry, trash bins also make excellent basketball hoops to toss soda cans into! 
  4. Weeding. Spring has sprung, and with that comes the weed takeover in our backyard. I can get into the groove of weeding when I have some earphones in, but let’s face it, it’s tedious and boring. So, I have enlisted help. This task is one that I will pay for. I give each of my boys 1 penny for every weed they pull. It sounds silly, but it is a motivator for them. Typically they will each pull exactly 25 weeds. Why, you ask? Because they want a quarter for the gumball machine at Walmart. I do not understand, but those two little gumballs get an additional 50 weeds pulled in the yard. Score! 


a boy vacuuming the floor with a stick vacuum

While I might not let my boys help dust, clean windows, mop, or do dishes, I am working to find a balance in letting go of the control and relishing in my kids’ helpful spirits. I have talked to a lot of other mamas that love that their kiddos will put away laundry even if it’s just thrown in a drawer (eeekkk … can’t do this one yet) and other mamas who truly enjoy doing household tasks. So, whatever works for you and your family is the best way! How do you handle letting your kids help?