Chores for Teens

Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC
Teen raking leaves

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

A List of Chores for Teens

Browse the following list of 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
  • Cook a meal
  • Set the dinner table
  • Dinner clean up
  • Rake leaves
  • Mow lawn
  • Other yard work
  • Shovel snow
  • Clean vehicles
  • Clean out garage
  • Mop floors
  • Vacuum
  • Sweep
  • Dust
  • Clean out fridge
  • Take out the trash
  • Wipe surfaces
  • Feed pets
  • Exercise pets
  • Groom pets
  • Babysit siblings
  • Help sibling with homework
  • Pick up sibling from school
  • Pick up groceries or other items
  • Shred papers
  • Run errands, such as post office

You can have your teenager do just about anything that you know she can handle. Don't overwhelm her by giving her too much to do at first; instead give her one or two chores a week. Then increase the amount of chores once she is ready and willing to accept more.

Motivating Your Teen to Do Chores

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 her first job and teaches her that if she does what you expect her to do, you will continue to reward her and give her the chance to make more money. This is why it's good to start with only one or two chores. It gives your teenager a sense of pride knowing that she has exceeded your expectations and has made you proud.

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 her something that she really wants if she does all of her chores 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 she has the idea, give her room to do them herself with some supervision. If she has everything under control, you can then let her do the chores completely on her own. However, let her know if she ever needs help, you are available.

If your teen has many chores to do each week, you may want to make a chore chart for her. 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 for her to check off each task after completion.

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 she doesn'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 her chores. If she is having trouble completing them or does it later than you need them done, discuss the situation with her to decide if she may just need more time to complete the tasks or if she needs to cut out certain tasks. 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 her allowance slightly. It's important that she 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 her a job. You are her first boss, so you make the call on how stringent you are on how and when she fulfills her duties. 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 she doesn't do what she is supposed to do.

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Chores for Teens