Chores for Teens

Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC
Contributor: Michele Meleen
Mother and teen daughter doing laundry

Chores for teenagers teach that responsibility, discipline, and hard work pay off. Choosing the chores you would like your teenager to do may not be easy, especially if you've been doing everything for them up to this point.

Chores List for Teenagers

You can have your teenager do just about anything you know they can handle. Don't overwhelm them by giving them too much to do at first. Start your pre-teen off with one or two chores a week. Then increase the number of chores once they're ready and willing to accept more and as they age. Browse the following list of household chores for teens to choose which ones you would like your teenager to start working on:

  • Clean bedroom
  • Do laundry
  • Clean bathroom
  • Load and unload dishwasher
  • Prepare lunch or dinner
  • Set the dinner table or clear it
  • Sweep, vacuum, or mop floors
  • Dust each room
  • Clean out fridge
  • Take out trash and recycling
  • Wipe counters and tables
  • Feed, exercise, or groom pets
  • Care for and assist siblings
  • Run errands and pick up needed items
  • Shred papers
  • Clean computers internally
  • Clean household electronic device screens, remotes, and keyboards

Seasonal Teen Chore List

Depending on where you live, there might also be seasonal chores your teen can help with. Don't underestimate what adolescents are capable of helping with. If your daughter is mechanically inclined or your son is great with landscaping, focus on those areas for chores.

  • Shovel snow
  • Rake leaves
  • Mow lawn and other yard work
  • Clean vehicles
  • Take the car for routine maintenance
  • Clean out garage
  • Put away or take out seasonal items
  • Clean gutters
  • Wash windows
  • Clean rugs outside

Printable Teen Chore Resources

Once you decide on the chores your adolescent is responsible for, getting them down in writing can help make them a reality. If your teen has many chores to do each week, you may want to make a chore chart. You can print out a chart or calendar and add in the chores for each day, or you can get poster board to make a chart to check off each task after completion. Click on the document to download, customize, and print. Check out the Adobe Guide if you run into any problems accessing the printables.

Printable Chore List for Teens

A printable chore list puts your teen's responsibilities into writing and on display to help keep them and you accountable. This free teen chore list includes sections for each task, when your teen plans to complete the task when the chore is complete, and a section for notes about why it didn't get done or other concerns.

Printable Chore Contract for Teens

A simple, printable contract can help you and your teen define exactly what the expectations are surrounding their chores. Having this information in writing allows each of you to hold the other accountable.

Motivating Your Teen to Do Chores

Giving your teenager a sense of pride knowing they have exceeded your expectations and made you proud is essential to motivating them. This is why it's good to start with only one or two chores; it gives them a chance to excel. When they succeed, they'll be more motivated.

Compensating With Money

The biggest motivator for teenagers is money. Give your teen a specific amount of money for each chore completed throughout the week. This turns out to be their first job and teaches that if she does what you expect, you will continue to offer rewards and chances to make more money.

Compensating With Privileges

If money is tight or you don't believe that you should have to pay your teen for doing household duties, you can give your teenager another reward that fits into your budget. You can promise something they really want if all chores get done for a week or a month. Be careful not to set the rewards too far apart because your teen may lose focus and motivation.

Helping Your Teen With Chores

At first, help your teenager with doing the chores if needed. Once they understand the idea, allow room to complete chores independently with some supervision. If your teen has everything under control, you can then let them do the chores completely alone. However, let your kid know if they ever need help, you are available.

Son watching mother create chore list

Adjusting Your Teenager's Chore Schedule

Since many teens have busy schedules with extracurricular activities, it may be necessary to cut out some chores so does they don't become overwhelmed. You don't want to scale back too much though because then you lose the benefits of chores for teens. Instead, assess how your teen is doing with chores.

Dealing With Incomplete Chores

If your teen is having trouble completing them or does chores later than you need them done, discuss the situation to decide if more time is needed to complete the tasks or certain tasks need to be cut out. Of course, if you take away chores, the logical thing is to cut back on pay. However, it's up to you, as the parent, to choose to do that or just decrease allowance slightly. It's important that your teen knows that less work means less pay since that is what is expected in the work world.

You Are Your Teen's First Boss

When giving your teenager chores, you are giving them a job. You are their first boss, so you make the call on how stringent you are on how and when duties are fulfilled. You are still the parent and know your teen better than an employer will. Be sure to take that into account when you make decisions about what your teenager does and what to do when they don't follow through.

Chores for Teens