At the beginning, having your toddler do chores around the house creates more work than actual help, but if you stick with it, you’ll have a kiddo who is used to helping out around the house instead of fighting you at every turn.

In theory.

And not only that, but accomplishing things at home instills a sense of mastery, self-reliance, responsibility, empathy, and respect for others, which are all great things to teach our kids.

But how young is too young?

This study, which followed 84 kids from the ages of preschool through their mid-20s, found that the ones who started doing chores at ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have good relationships, achieve academic success, and be self-sufficient than those who started as teens or never had chores to do before they moved out on their own.

In fact, according to developmental psychologist Richard Rende, doing chores may actually be a better predictor for long term positive social and academic outcomes than the sports or other activities they’re involved in that keep them too busy to work at home.

“Parents today want their kids spending time on things that can bring them success, but ironically, we’ve stopped doing the one thing that’s actually been a proven predictor of success – and that’s household chores.”

Actually getting your kids to do their chores is another matter, but here are some quick tips and tricks:

Choose your words. 

Instead of calling them chores, talk about helping around the house and thank your kids for “being a helper.”

Prioritize chores.

Getting them done isn’t an afterthought – it’s as important as every other activity scheduled for the day.

Make them fun.

Turn them into games. You don’t have to be Mary Poppins, but a spoonful of sugar really does help!

Focus on the family.

Kids will like to feel like they are a part of things, and to know how much they’re helping.

Don’t pay them.

They’re helping because they’re members of the family, not because they’re expecting something in return.

There you go! I know I’m going to implement a few things with my 2-year-old just to get a head start!