Let’s be honest, getting your teenagers to complete chores is rarely an easy task. What seem like simple chores to a parent are often met with a teenager’s groaning and complaining. Add in a variety of distractions and a packed schedule, and it’s no wonder teenagers try their hardest to avoid or simply forget to do their chores.
However, teens are capable of completing almost any household chore. But it may require specific instructions, guidance, and even examples before they learn to complete chores to your standard.
Chores for teenagers are often linked to key life lessons such as responsibility, time management, integrity, and work ethic. Sometime in the near future, your teenager will live on their own or with a roommate or spouse. Developing key life skills to promote success in his or her adult life requires your patience and support. Let’s begin with examining how to approach a conversation about chores with your teenager.
Starting the Chore Conversation with your Teenagers
Keep in mind, every teenager is different. As you have conversations about assigning and completing chores, remember you need to display patience and grace.
Instead of simply delegating chores to your teenagers, involve them in the process. This doesn’t mean that you let them overrule you on decisions. Rather, learn what chores they enjoy completing. Then, try to reach a compromise on some of the chores they don’t enjoy.
When it comes to chores, communicating clear boundaries directly relates to your teenager’s success or failure. As you discuss boundaries, consider setting parameters on timing for each chore, as well as if you expect them to complete their chores in one day or over the course of a week.
If your teenager struggles with chores, consider how you can use these moments for teaching and supporting them in addition to correction or discipline. Attempt to work together and understand how your teenager is motivated. As you navigate holding your teenager accountable for his or her chores, remember that this is part of the important process of teaching your teen about independence and responsibility.
Chore List for Teens
As your teenagers grow up, color-coded refrigerator chore charts might no longer be appealing. But as a parent, you still want to create a system to promote accountability with chores for your teenagers. Depending on your family’s rules and principles involving media and technology, consider the benefit of digital options involving chores for your teenagers.
There are a variety of apps that you and your teens can download to establish a chore schedule. These apps offer virtual chore charts complete with interactive calendars, to-do lists, and other useful features for parents and teens.
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Chore Apps for Teens
Here are a few apps designed specifically with chores for teenagers in mind.
Advertised as “so much more than a chore app,” BusyKid is designed to help your teenagers become independent and motivated to complete chores. This app also boasts a wide range of resources for money management. We recommend BusyKid for families that use chores to teach their kids about spending and saving money. Through the virtual chore chart, parents have the option to change which chores are assigned based on the week or time of year, as well as adjust the amount of allowance per chore.
Greenlight is primarily designed to be a debit card for kids. However, within the application, there are multiple functions to design a specific chore chart with corresponding allowances and tasks. You and your teenagers can create in-app chore lists. Then, as parents you can sort the chores and align them to specific perks. One key function is that you can personalize your kids’ chore plans to establish a pattern of saving money towards a specific goal.
RoosterMoney’s primary goal is help parents teach their kids about money management. Like Greenlight, RoosterMoney contains the option to create a virtual chore chart tied to specific allowances. Their chore manager feature is designed for kids of all ages, with more specific habits and rewards geared towards teenagers.
Common Chores for Teenagers
Once you finish the chores conversation with your teenager, you’ve arrived at the next step: assigning chores for your teen. Before you get started, consider establishing priorities and expectations with your teen. Include your teenager’s thoughts and opinions in the conversation but remember that you ultimately can make the final decision.
Here are a few suggestions of chores for your teenagers:
Learning how to do laundry is a skill that your teens won’t be able to live without once he or she leaves home. Begin with helping them sort different colors and types of clothes. If they’ve never used a washer or dryer, teach them the different functions and settings. For some teenagers, consider pairing learning how to iron with this chore category. If your teen drives and you use a dry-cleaning service, let him or her take control of dropping off and picking up the dry cleaning.
Kitchen – Cleaning and Cooking
For some families, the kitchen is an off-limits zone for younger kids. However, there are a variety of benefits in letting your teenager grow in their responsibilities and independence within the kitchen.
Learning how to clean and cook in the kitchen are vital skills for future life. With cleaning, teach your teenager how to properly clean a glass table versus a wooden table. Allow them to experiment with organizing the fridge or pantry. Learning to handwash and put away dishes is just as important as knowing how to load and unload a dishwasher. Maybe you can establish certain days of the week where these responsibilities alternate between your teens.
Some teenagers can’t wait for the chance to cook their own meals and others would rather have every meal catered by Chick-fil-A. Teaching your teen how to cook will look different for everyone. So, start simple. Consider choosing one of your teen’s favorite meals to begin. Help them learn how to read a recipe from start to finish. As they develop their cooking skills, consider choosing one night of the week or month where their responsibility is to cook dinner or a weekend breakfast.
Outdoor Chores and Car Maintenance
One of the most exciting changes in a teenager’s life is the moment when they finally get their driver’s license. However, teenagers don’t always realize how much energy and time goes into keeping a car in good condition. Whether your teenager has their own car or shares with other siblings, teaching them how to maintain the car goes well beyond pumping gas. Consider assigning car-related chores such as an old-fashioned at-home car wash. Or vacuuming the seats and floor. For the brave (and well-trained) maybe your teenager is ready to help with an at-home oil change.
As far as outdoor maintenance goes, this depends on your home and how you approach chores for teenagers! Start with taking out the trash and recycling. Teach your teenager the neighborhood trash schedule so they are aware of when to complete these chores. For your teenage boys (and girls), lawn care is a classic chore that naturally builds upon itself from mowing to weed eating to gardening and mulching.
Babysitting and Nannying
One of the most important ways to teach care and compassion is by letting your teen interact with younger siblings. Babysitting or nannying is a great way to slowly build your teen’s confidence and capability, not to mention your trust in them. If they enjoy babysitting, allow them to find a job in the local neighborhood or at school. Part of the agreement could include taking a CPR class as a family to show your support.
There’s so much room for organization to fit you and your family’s needs. For your teenagers, this chore can begin with the spaces they occupy most often. Start with their room and bathroom. For your more creative teens, allow them to design and organize their spaces under your supervision. As they show progress in this chore, provide your teen with more responsibility in organization. From here, you can teach them the importance of washing sheets, organizing the pantry, or even the often-cluttered garage.
Should You Pay Teens for Chores?
Chores and money management often go together for a reason. As your teenagers grow up and consider getting a job, chores can effectively prepare them for the workforce. Yet, it’s difficult to know exactly when to start paying your teens for chores.
The beauty of this decision is that as a parent you can establish the rules and boundaries for allowances and chores. Money management is uniquely designed to include a variety of worthwhile conversations about stewardship and wisdom. Chores are often an easy entry point into teaching your kids about money.
If you’re uncomfortable with directly giving your money for chores, consider how you might create a points or rewards system. For example, if your teenager completes their chores on time and up to your standard, then they receive a reward.
Throughout the Bible the Lord emphasizes the importance of traits such as responsibility, care, and work ethic.
- In Colossians, the Apostle Paul writes, “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23).
- “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23).
- “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied” (Proverbs 13:4).
As you communicate the importance of chores for your teens, reinforce the spiritual significance of work and its impact on the heart, mind, and soul. For more information and resources on chores, check our other chores-related content here.