Sue Shellenbarger wrote an important piece in the Wall Street Journal on children and chores a while back.
How much time each day, on average, does a 6 to 12 year old spend on household chores?
While most parents today focus mostly on teaching kids self-reliance -- keeping themselves clean, fed and botulism-free -- the benefits of learning housework run deeper. For example: After controlling for other factors, U.S. marriages tend to be more stable when men participate more in domestic tasks, says a study of 506 U.S. couples published in 2006 in the American Journal of Sociology.
David Jackson has consistently required his twins, 16, to help around the house, starting as toddlers when they began picking up their toys and adding harder chores, such as stocking bathrooms or mowing the lawn, at each new stage. He sees the chores as a way of teaching empathy and "stewardship -- taking care of the community assets," says the Tulsa, Okla., father. "It helps them realize the world is not all about them."