...and they'll break things.
It's part of letting kids "help." Our most recent victim was the dryer.
Now, I should point out that this might have been my fault. The kids were helping me with laundry, and somehow the lint trap wasn't put in place for one dryer load. I'm choosing to blame it on the kids, since I don't remember ever forgetting to put that lint trap back. But I guess it could have been me.
Anyway, whoever's fault it was, we ended up with a dryer that wouldn't work. The Engineer thoroughly cleaned the lint/exhaust pipe, and found a couple of socks that had been sucked into the hole where the lint trap goes, but the dryer still refused to function. I contemplated calling a repair company. I wondered if we'd have to buy a new dryer. I avoided asking The Engineer the truly important, truly horrifying question:
"If I get a new dryer for Christmas, does that mean I'm not getting my new mixer?!"
And then I started asking for advice from folks in a local online chat group. More than one person strongly encouraged us to try to fix it ourselves, giving us ideas of what might be wrong and of where to find information online. I started Googling phrases like "How to disassemble Amana dryer." Eventually I came across the official service manual, free for the taking. I downloaded it, printed it, and presented it to The Engineer.
And Monday night, he dragged the dryer into our open entryway and, using the service manual (which was surprisingly well-written), he took apart the front of it. He found one more sock, stuck in the blower. When the offending item was removed and the dryer was reassembled and reinstalled, I nervously listened from the other room.
My face broke into a huge smile when I heard that familiar sound of a beautifully-functioning dryer. I led the kids in a round of applause for our handy Engineer.
They're learning to help around the house. And they're learning that when something goes wrong, sometimes you can put a little elbow grease into it, and fix it yourself. Not a bad situation, after all.