11 Terrible Chores Small Children Think Are Fun, in GIFs

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Childhood and adulthood are very different things, and they look completely different from the other’s perspective. As adults, we look at our kids and think of all the fun and freedom and potential they enjoy. It’s weird, because when we were kids, we couldn’t wait to grow up and do all the things adults do. Maybe it’s because so many of the terrible chores we have to do as adults actually seem like fun games to little kids.

Here are 11 terrible chores small children think are fun.

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Taking the stairs.

The elevator in my apartment building was being serviced for three months, and I bitched and moaned about it for four, even though I only lived on the third floor. My toddler gets so excited when she sees stairs, it is as though Disney World were laid out in front of her. All she wants to do with her life is go up and down the stairs, and when she realizes that a person can run instead of walk on stairs, she’s going to lose her little toddler mind.

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Putting things away.

I can’t be arsed to put my socks away, but my toddler knows of no game in life more fun than, “Can you pick up all these blocks and put them in that storage container?” OK, after that she wants to dump them out so she can put them all in again, but the end result is the same: Blocks go in their box.

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Washing their hands.

Purell was invented so we could be lazy about washing our hands, but toddlers like to wash their hands so much it can be a serious problem. “I need to wash my hands!” they shout, every single time they see a sink. “OK, you can wash your hands, but only for five minutes, then we have to go.”

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Getting dirty.

Conversely, small children love getting dirty. If I step in a puddle, chances are good my entire day is ruined and I’m going to fuss and moan about it for an hour. Hand a toddler a marker, and she will painstakingly color her entire hand blue. (Then she will ask to wash her hands for 30 minutes.)

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Moving boxes.

This thing was in one place, and now it is in another. Quick, someone contact the Pulitzer committee!

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I have 400 excuses for why I can’t go to the gym today (most of them are toddler-related), but if I gave my kid a mini SoulCycle bike, she would be ecstatic. She did jumping jacks for 10 minutes for no reason. Back in the 80s, my 3-year-old sister was obsessed with wearing leotards and legwarmers and being allowed to do the Jane Fonda workout after school. She asked for Jane Fonda to come to her birthday party, and was kind of disappointed when a clown showed up instead.

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A toddler’s obsession with sweeping would be extremely handy, if only they didn’t manage to make more of a mess whenever they did it. I still don’t know how that happens, but if you had my toddler a tiny broom and dustpan, she will happily sweep for 20 minutes, and the place will be way messier when she’s finished.

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Cleaning the baseboards.

This is a chore little kids can actually do! Give them a sponge or rag and tell them to wipe the tops of the baseboards. They will run around the room forever doing that. It’s not like you were actually going to clean your baseboards anyway (I had to google baseboard to figure out what I was even talking about just now) so any amount of dusting they actually get done will be a net improvement in the end.

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It’s a toss-up who loves the laundry basket more, toddlers or cats. If only they could be trusted not to climb into the washer and dryer, we could all run toddler laundry programs. Child labor is OK if they think it’s a game, right?

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Changing diapers.

Give a toddler a baby doll with a diaper to change, and the toddler will change that diaper for the next six days without eating or sleeping. Why is this fun? I do not know! I have been changing diapers for two years, and my toddler is pretty sure that’s the same thing as her taking me to the movies and getting me an extra-large tub of popcorn.

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Watching or reading the same thing over and over again. 

I get annoyed when Supergirl is in reruns, but my toddler wants to read Eloise in Paris 400 times in a row, and if I try to switch books we are going to have a problem.


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