Typically, if you meet an adult with a helpful attitude, you are seeing the end result of a child who was taught to be helpful. One of the best ways to teach responsibility and helpfulness to children is to teach them how to do basic household chores. This exercise instills a good work ethic, determination, thoughtfulness, and a host of other good qualities that you want your children to exhibit. To help make this exercise a part of your daily life, here are a few tips to help you teach your kids basic household chores while they’re young.

Get the Right Stuff

Before you start teaching your kids how to get to work, you need to make sure you have everything you need to teach them. Get all of your appliances in working order, whether that means washer and dryer repair or updating your dishwasher so that it’s not so finicky. The easier you can make it to get the chores done, the easier it will be for your children to do them.

Model It

Most household chores are actions that are better caught than taught. This means that a great way to teach your children how to do household chores is to model how to do the chores while they’re watching. While it’s fine for kids to play separately from you most of the time, when you are doing various household chores, it’s important that you call your children near so they can see how to do tasks such as folding the laundry and collecting the trash. As your children learn how to complete different tasks, they will be likely to imitate you and follow your lead.

Keep it Simple

One way to keep kids interested in doing household chores is to keep the tasks simple. Rather than teaching your children how to wash, dry, and fold the laundry all at once, start by teaching them how to fold the laundry and put it away, then add further tasks like sorting their own laundry before it is washed, or simply moving clothes from the washer to the dryer. Eventually, you can work on more advanced tasks and chores that may take more time to teach and require a better grasp on the simpler concepts.

Offer Cumulative Rewards

Another great teaching tool for kids learning how to complete household chores is cumulative rewards. Rather than rewarding your children for each task they complete, require them to keep track of their tasks, over time, to lead to a larger reward. This will keep them on-task over a longer period of time and will teach them the importance of delayed gratification. Plus, a larger reward will be something they’ll be more likely to take care of, reducing waste.

Make it Musical

If you’re especially creative, a great way to get your kids motivated to do household chores is through song. You can either borrow songs from kid’s shows relating to chores or you can make up your own. In either case, you should sing these songs whenever you are doing the chores yourself and when you are helping your children do them. As kids learn to associate these songs with their chores, they will find them to be more enjoyable, thus increasing the likelihood that they’ll see them through to completion.

Throughout the process of teaching kids to do chores, it’s important that you stay patient. If a child is slow to learn a specific task, see it as a learning opportunity rather than a chance to criticize. Too much criticism will reduce your child’s motivation to learn chores, resulting in potentially lifelong consequences.