At what age should children do chores?

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

GILBERT, Ariz. -- From cleaning their rooms to mowing the lawn...some kids are required to do their part around the house.

Some parents give an allowance or a reward for chores done. But some experts say that's not a good idea. On Thursday's Good Morning Arizona, Tess Rafols looked at what age kids can start handling some household responsibilities, and how parents can make sure they follow through.

Five-year-old Olivia gladly feeds her dogs. This is just one of her daily chores.  She and eight-year-old brother Alec know the routine. Every morning after breakfast in their Gilbert home, they put away their dishes, get their lunches ready, brush their teeth and do their backpacks.

As the kids complete their morning activities, they move it up to the competed area on a chart. Mom Lisa Grant created this chore chart, so her kids can easily remember what they're supposed to do.

"I think it helps the kids be responsible and teaches them how to help around the house," says Grant. "Part of our goal is to make the kids realize that everyone contributes to the family. Everyone needs to help out so that we are all doing something in our household."

Experts say that's exactly the message parents should be sending to their kids when it comes to chores."

A chore around the household should be tied to the family," says child behavioral expert Brad Snyder. "You're a member of this family and have duties we're supposed to do. You don't always get a reward for that."

Synder is the author of the book "The 5 Simple Truths of Raising Kids. "He believes that every chore should not be tied to an allowance or reward. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and praise.

Start at the kindergarten age, with small tasks. "Start with: you're in charge of your room, in charge of your toys," he advises. "Make it look good and presentable. Then reward them with your attention and your praise for doing a good job."

Be sure the task is age-appropriate, that the child can do the chore. And increase responsibilities as they get older.

"It always works best if you make it explicit," says Snyder. "Write it down somewhere: this is what's expected of you. Because your children will forget, or they'll act like they've forgotten."

Free time is also important in a family schedule. But if you keep everybody on a schedule, they know what they have to do.

"I hope when they get older, that they'll carry these habits forward," says Grant. "I think it will help them in school and help out other people"