A good friend once told me never to do for my children what they could do for themselves. That simple piece of advice has helped me to encourage my children from a young age to be responsible for their belongings and to help around the house. I've learned patience in the process as things don't get done nearly as quickly as they used to, but the joy of a smoothly running household and the pride my children take in their work make it all worthwhile. How does this work for us? Our toddlers have each learned to take their dirty clothes to the laundry basket. Amid much clapping and many cheers they take aim and toss. (And if they miss, they try again!) They put away their toys, wipe up their spills, etc. Somewhere around 2 to 3 years of age, they dress themselves -- so helpful in a growing family! Velcro shoes have been a great investment at this age. By 4 they make their beds and keep their rooms tidy. Our list goes on, and the chores will be unique to each family, but the idea of letting each child do what he/she is able has helped us tremendously. Siblings eagerly teach the younger children how to do their chores so that they can pass them on. A 4 year old has shown a 2 year old what to do with the recyclables. At 5 our son had his little brother emptying the dryer with him. We have very few chore battles here as doing what they are able is just something the children have grown up with!