Tom chciał tylko, żeby Mary mu trochę bardziej pomagała przy dzieciach.

English Translation

Tom just wanted Mary to help him a little more with the children.

How common is it to use “przy” + locative instead of z + instrumental to convey the meaning of “with”?

I’d say it’s quite common when it comes to usage with “pomagać”. In this specific example, “przy dzieciach” feels more idiomatic than “z dziećmi”.

“Przy” + locative can also be used interchangeably with “w” + locative in phrases denoting specific activities such as “pomagać przy gotowaniu” (to help with cooking), “pomagać przy sprzątaniu” (to help with cleaning up), and so on.

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