When helping isn’t helping

As a caveat: this post does not contain ANY meaning- or helpful parenting advice. Just an honest opinion. And a drinking confession.

The famous Swiss expert when it comes to raising kids is Remo Largo. For those of you who are Swiss and who have kids, I believe that 99.9% of you have purchased the book “Babyjahre” and yes, it is great and true and helpful in real life (something rarely true for any of the advisory books about parenting. Well, not as if I’d read many of these to be honest. We just make it up as we go along). One of my friends summed the book up as follows “he basically says everything is normal, since all kids are different. And that grass doesn’t grow faster when you pull at it”. All so true.

What he also says is that you don’t necessarily have to always “just” do childfriendly actvities. Rather involve the children in your daily chores and tasks around the houshold, as what they really crave is to do as the adults do, to imitate and be part of the things which happen.

For me this is great news in the sense that it is not deemed necessary that I enter the seven circles of hell every day (i.e. things such as daily visits to the playground, or, much worse, softplay areas.

What it means though is that you should involve kids in stuff like folding laundry, cleaning the flat, cooking, etc. Sounds great, right? Have you ever tried it? I would like to illustrate my point with the short video below.

No. It is NOT helping. It is actually just testing my patience. And that’s the harmless version of helping, as anybody with kids certainly has experienced. Folding laundry with a toddler? “HA” is all I say to that. It is more like a folding contest, where you have to prove your lightning-speed folding-technique whilst the toddler proves his equally fast unfolding-strategy. It is exhausting. And not beneficial to mother – child relationship if you’re asking me. At least if you don’t wont to fold that one basket of laundry for all eternity.

Cooking with kids is another great topic. We love doing that because it keeps them busy. HOWEVER, you must calculate on average 2 times as long for the cooking at at least 4 times as long for cleaning. Mimi #1 can be involved in baking stuff but will eventually end up covered in flour. Or dough. Most probably both. (I recall the Gnocchi making attempt last Sunday which is still vivid in my mind, Kudos to Twomimidad for going that extra mile). Mimi #2s arms are still too short to reach from the Triptrap (the #1 kid-seat in Switzerland) to the kitchen worktop. So she’s left to play with the cutlery drawer (most of the time we actually remember to remove the sharp kitchen knives, bonus points to us if we do) throwing all the cutlery one by one on the stone kitchen floor. Bonus points to the parent who manages not to step on a spoon and fall over!

I am certainly already looking forward to all the x-mas cookie making, will need some meditation before AND after the activity I believe. But all in all, I would rather clean my kitchen for an hour (or even two) than going to an indoor playing area on a rainy day. At least I can pour myself a proper drink whilst cleaning in peace, when the kids are in bed. And that -my friends- is always a killer-bonus!


The brave adult keeping the kids busy in a pedagogically meaningful activity was actually my Mom. Yep, she’s fearless! (and no, I have no clue on what amount of chocolate was consumed in the process)