5 people living in a 1000 sq foot home means being vigilant chore wise or our home will be overtaken by unopened mail, toys, and crafts. I do not claim to be a housekeeping saint by any means, but I do like a relatively clean and clutter free house (not including my to do boxes....those are overflowing and very cluttery! They don't count , do they?) My kids are ages 9, 5, and 4. They are old enough to do chores and honestly they help me out a LOT.
I devised a paint chip chore chart system that seems to work very well for our kids. They have learned (or are learning) their chores and have gotten quite good at them. Needless to say this takes a little off of my plate which I am thankful for. Here is how it works: each child gets a paint chip made up of several shades of their favorite color. In each shade of the paint chip I write one or two chores until the paint chip is filled up. My oldest daughter, at age 9, has the most chores and my 4 and 5 year olds have less. I adjust periodically and switch chores around between the kids. There are also daily things like picking up toys and putting dirty clothes in the hamper that are expected, but aren't included on the charts. My goal is that everyone knows how to do all of the chores necessary to run a home. I want to send my kids out into the world knowing how to cook, do dishes, run a washing machine, etc. This chore system works well for us because it is visual, uncomplicated, and easy to change as necessary.
I think chores are important because it teaches kids how a household is run. It gives the kids a sense of confidence when they have mastered a chore, and honestly having some of the daily load taken off of my and my husband's shoulders is much appreciated. We stress that our home is a place that takes a team to take care of it. Each chore that the kids do is important and completing that chore successfully means a lot to the household running smoothly. Kids enjoy being an important cog in the wheel of household maintenance.....even if they don't feel it or admit it at the time. They may grumble at times, but it is worth it to follow through and keep the chore chain gang going.....even if it is sometimes easier to do everything myself! Kids will appreciate it sooner rather than later.