Many parents can relate to writer Michaeleen Doucleff's struggle when she says,

"Sometimes it seems like all that's standing between me and a clean house is my two-year-old, a master of destruction and mess-making."

In her time visiting the Yucatan for an NPR series, Doucleff observed what she calls the Mayan method, the practice of collaborating with your children to complete a task. 

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Instead of trying to control children, or even excluding them from a chore altogether, parents aim to harness their children's love for being "helpers" into a collaborative effort.

This way, when it comes to chores around the house, parents are able to work with their children to accomplish a common goal together, rather than waiting for nap time to get things done.

Doucleff tested out the Mayan method for herself with her two-year-old daughter and had this to say: 

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"Such contributions are tiny - and don't really help me. But I can tell she is learning something golden: To love collaborative activities and working together."

Working with your children to complete a task may not speed up the process, but the sense of accomplishment and responsibility that results is incredibly important for your child's self-esteem. 

Read more about Doucleff's experience, and how to try the Mayan method at home with your kids here

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Liz Coffman

Liz Coffman has worked in the advertising industry for over 7 years and is passionate about connecting people to the world around them through her writing. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Liz is also a professional musician, avid rock climber, hiker and adventure seeker.

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