- Chores and Children
- Scolding kids about chores may get compliance but also resistance
- How much time do kids typically spend on chores?
- Benefits of chores for kids
- Encourage your child’s participation in housework
- Teen Cleaning Tips
- Chores List for Teenagers
- Printable Teen Chore Resources
- Motivating Your Teen to Do Chores
- You Are Your Teen’s First Boss
- Getting Teens to Do Chores
- Here’s What YouCan Do Instead
- I don’t recommend assigning chores at all.
- Problems with the chore chart…
- Parents have to participate too.
- 10 Most Useful Chores For Teens
- 1. Sweeping & Vacuuming The Floor
- 2. Keeping The Bathroom Neat And Clean
- 3. Mopping The Floor
- 4. Tidying The Living Room Every Week
- 5. Removing The Clutter
- 6. Cooking A Delicious Meal
- 7. Getting Them To Babysit
- 8. Getting Them To Make Their Beds And Clean The Mess Around
- 9. Getting Them To Turn Off The Lights When Not In Use
- 10. Throwing The Trash Away
- Household Chores
- Household Chores List
- Free Printable Chore Charts
- 1. Give them the rules.
- 2. Communicate the rules.
- 3. Keep calm.
- 4. Have clear consequences.
- 5. Lead by example – everyone has a part to play.
- 10 Free Printable Chore Chart Templates for Kids, Teens, Adults, and Your Family
- The (Dreaded) Chore List
- Sweet Reward
- The Printable Chore Chart
- Final Thoughts on the Chore Chart
Chores and Children
Housework seems simple, but for many parents it’s fraught with emotion. It’s easy to slide into thinking that when our children don’t pick up, it means they don’t love us or they don’t respect us. We may feel angry, resentful, or dejected. We may wonder how we ended up in the role of household drudge to our royal children!
Scolding kids about chores may get compliance but also resistance
Too often, attempts to get kids involved in chores take the form of angry demands. These might get some immediate action, but the effects won’t last. Harsh scolding from a frustrated parent certainly won’t get children to embrace their role as valuable contributors to a smoothly running household. No healthy child is going to accept the message, “I’m suffering, so you should, too!”
How much time do kids typically spend on chores?
Families today are busy. According to Pew research, about 60% of families have dual incomes. On average each week, mothers spend 21 hours doing paid work, 18 hours doing housework, and 14 hours doing childcare. Fathers spend 37 hours per week doing paid work, 10 hours doing housework, and 7 hours doing childcare. What about the kids? According to research by Sandra Hofferth, children between six and twelve years of age spend an average of just under three hours per week on housework (and almost 14 hours per week watching television!). While it’s important that children not have to shoulder adult-size responsibilities, pitching in by helping with household chores won’t hurt them and may even help them.
Benefits of chores for kids
Sometimes parents don’t involve children in chores because it feels like too much effort to supervise them. If we just do the chores ourselves, we know the jobs will get done right, and we won’t have to deal with arguments or delays. But there are good reasons to go to the extra effort to get children to participate in housework.
First, there’s the issue of competence. Housework may not be glamorous, but it’s necessary, and knowing how to do it efficiently and effectively is a life skill.
Second, there’s the issue of values. Insisting on chores sends children the message that being part of a family means pitching in and doing things for the greater good.
Third, there’s the issue of personal well-being. Research tells us that children actually feel happier when they make a meaningful contribution to the family. A diary study by Eva Telzer and Andrew Fuligni found that US teens of Latin American, Asian, and European descent reported higher levels of happiness when they provided more family assistance, and they did not find this work stressful.
So, just tell your child, “Scrubbing the bathroom will fill you with joy!” Surely that will inspire your child to pick up a sponge! Well, maybe not…
Source: Michael Sheehan/Flickr
Encourage your child’s participation in housework
Here are some practical ways to get kids to help with housework.
– Do chores together.
No one knows automatically how to do housework; we need to learn. Doing chores with your child allows you to offer appropriate guidance and help. Give lots of positive feedback: “Oh, you got the sheets nice and smooth!” or “You made the sink sparkling clean! That looks so much better than it was!” Working alongside you not only helps children develop skills, it also makes chores seem more tolerable. If all or at least several family members are pitching in at the same time, your child is less likely to feel individually persecuted by housework.
– Establish routines for chores.
Chores can become habits when we do them at the same time every day or every week. When/then routines help. When your children have hung up their coats after school, then they can have snack. When they’ve put their dishes in the dishwasher, then they can go play. While the habits are still forming, you’ll need to stand nearby to make sure these routines happen.
With older children, you may want to hold a family meeting and get their help with deciding how to divvy up chores fairly. Do they prefer assigned chores or rotating chores? When is the best time during the week to do chores? Having some say in how housework gets done can make kids more willing to participate. Put your kids in charge of creating a list or chart to record the agreement.
Be matter-of-fact, rather than demanding, as you establish habits. “It’s Wednesday night. Dirty clothes need to go in the laundry.” After awhile, these behaviors will become automatic, although kids will occasionally have temporary backslides.
– Keep chores manageable.
Kids are more willing to repeat a short burst of tidying than a long marathon of cleaning. When I had young children, I used to set a timer for 15 minutes, and we’d all run around frantically picking up as fast as we could until the bell went off. Then we stopped and did something else. My goal was a livable home, not magazine-inspired perfection.
One of the most important things you can do to make chores feel manageable is to get rid of clutter. When there are too many toys to put on the shelves and too many clothes to fit easily in the drawers, when the bookshelf is already stuffed with books, the closet is crowded with coats, and there are 57 papers stuffed at the bottom of their backpacks, kids feel overwhelmed. They feel like the fish in Dr. Seuss’ classic book, The Cat in the Hat, who exclaims, “This mess is so big / And so deep and so tall, / We can not pick it up! / There is no way at all!”
When my children were younger, I arbitrarily decided that six toys were plenty for each child. (A multi-piece toy, like Legos, counted as “one” toy.) I stashed some of our good quality “extra” toys in the basement, so I could swap toys occasionally. Sometimes the kids outgrew these “extra” toys before I remembered to get them out. Apparently we didn’t need them.
With young children, it’s generally easier to get rid of things when they’re not around. Older children (with better memories) will want to have some say in what gets kept or discarded.
Once you’ve pared down possessions, help your children establish a regular home for the things they need and enjoy. Consider putting picture or word labels on boxes and drawers, getting a hanging pocket shoe holder for hats and gloves, and using hooks or clip hangers for clothes.
If your child tends to collect things, give her a “treasure box” where she can keep her precious items. When the box gets full, she needs to pick only her very favorite items to save and get rid of some of the less-preferred items.
– Make chores fun.
Put on lively music. Let your children use cleaning tools they enjoy. A feather duster, spray bottle, canister vacuum, or sink full of soap suds seem ordinary to adults, but for kids they can be fun. If your attitude while doing the chores is light-hearted, your child will be more willing to participate. It doesn’t take much effort to “accidentally” throw a sheet over a child’s head while making a bed or squirt the cleaner in the shape of a smiley face. When my kids were little, I had a fuzzy spider puppet that would come out and tickle them when they’d done a good job cleaning up. (I’d read somewhere that spiders like clean houses.) When you’re done with chores, express appreciation by doing something fun with your children to celebrate your nice clean home and the extra time you have because they pitched in.
What chores did you have to do growing up?
How do you get your children to pitch in with housework?
Helping the “Bad Kid” of the Family
10 Ways to Help Children Listen Better
© Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD. Google+ Twitter: psychauthormom
Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, is an author and clinical psychologist in Princeton, NJ (lic. # 35SI00425400). She frequently speaks at schools and conferences about parenting and children’s social and emotional development. www.EileenKennedyMoore.com
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Source: Eileen Kennedy-Moore, used with permission
Dr. Kennedy-Moore’s books and videos:
— Have you ever wanted a parenting course you could do at YOUR convenience?Check out this fun and fascinating audio/video series on children’s feelings and friendships from The Great Courses®: Raising Emotionally & Socially Healthy Kids. || Topics include: Teaching Kids to Care; Developing Genuine Self-Esteem; How Kids Manage Anxiety and Anger; Playing Well With Others; Growing Up Social in the Digital Age. VIDEO preview.
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— Smart Parenting for Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child’s True Potential || Chapters include: Tempering Perfectionism; Building Connection; Developing Motivation; Finding Joy. VIDEO preview.
— The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends || Chapters include: The Shy Child; The Little Adult; The Short-Fused Child; The Different Drummer.
— What About Me? 12 Ways To Get Your Parents’ Attention Without Hitting Your Sister. VIDEO preview.
Growing Friendships blog posts are for general educational purposes only. They may or may not be relevant for your particular situation. You’re welcome to link to this post, but please don’t reproduce it without written permission from the author.
boy washing dishes: “Good boy” by Homini:) / CC BY 2.0
girl sweeping: “Doing chores with a smile! Love it!” by Michael Sheehan / CC By 2.0
For further reading:
Hofferth, S. L. (2009). Changes in American children’s time – 1997 to 2003. International Time Use Research, 1, 26-47.
Parker, K. & Wang, W. (2013). Modern parenthood: Roles of moms and dads converge as they balance work and family. Pew Research Social and Demographic Trends.
Teen Cleaning Tips
So what are some of the ways you can put this philosophy into practice? Here are some ideas.
- Adjust your expectations. Face it: you won’t be able to get your teens to do all the chores you want them to do. In fact, the more tasks you pile on, the less likely they’ll do any of them, says Tanya Remer Altmann, MD,a pediatrician and author of Mommy Calls and The Wonder Years.
So decide what’s really essential to you and what you’re willing to let slide. “Maybe your teen is refusing to make her bed every day and you’re always fighting about it,” says Altmann. “You might want to take a step back.” Does a made bed really matter to you that much? Maybe not. However, some other tasks – like bringing dirty dishes to the sink – could be absolute requirements in your book.
- Come to an agreement. Once you know what you want, sit down and talk. “Negotiate with your teen a little,” says Altmann. “Come up with a cleaning plan that both parent and teen are comfortable with.” Sure, it might not be either party’s ideal, but it’s better than the never-ending argument.
- Be absolutely clear. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your kids will know what you mean when you say, “Clean your room.” What qualifies as “clean,” exactly? Picked up? Vacuumed and dusted? Or just a bit less disgusting than it is now? The answer might seem obvious to you – it might seem like common sense — but it might not be to them.
“If you were hiring a new employee, you wouldn’t just tell them, ‘Do a good job,’” says Wibbelsman. “You’d have a job description. You’d have a list of specific objectives.” It’s no different when you’re talking to your kids about their cleaning responsibilities, Wibbelsman says. You need to come up with a list of specifics. That way, you all know exactly what “clean” means – and there’s less room for miscommunication and argument.
- Have sensible consequences. So what happens if your kids don’t clean up as they’re supposed to? There have to be consequences. Don’t make up new punishments on the spot when you’re angry. You’ll probably regret it. Make the repercussions predictable and consistent. Sticking to the tried-and-true is fine, Wibbelsman says. Dock their allowance. Set earlier curfews. Take away car privileges.
What if that doesn’t work? What if after all that, your kids still won’t clean their messy rooms? Wibbelsman has a suggestion. Explain to your teens that since they won’t clean their rooms, you’ll hire someone to do it – and pay for it out of their allowance.
- Require basic hygiene. Some teens are pretty careful with their appearance and hygiene because they don’t want to stand out at school, says Altmann. But others don’t seem to care – something that’s especially common with teenage boys, Wibbelsman says.
You might be uncertain how to broach the issue, since you don’t want to knock your teens’ self-esteem. But experts say that it’s OK to set some minimum hygiene standards – like showering daily and wearing clean clothes — as part of their household responsibilities. If your kids don’t, the usual punishments apply.
- Be a good example. Want your kids to clean up their act? Clean up yours first. “If one of the parents is slovenly and doesn’t provide a good example,” says Wibbelsman, “how can you expect the teen to be conscientious about keeping things clean?”
- Don’t micromanage. Give your teens a task and a deadline. Then back off and let them accomplish it in their own way. So when your son’s doing yard work, don’t keep butting in with leaf-raking tips. Don’t keep pushing your daughter, for her own sake, to get her laundry out of the way first thing in the morning. Sure, you mean well. But you’re getting involved when you don’t need to be, and probably driving your kids nuts – which could make for some unnecessary conflict.
- Keep your cool. So your son told you – five times! – that he would take out the garbage. But he didn’t, and the trashcans are now overflowing and buzzing with flies. Sure, you’re angry. But try not to let anger dictate what you do next. As much as you can, you want to stick to the responsibilities and repercussions that you’ve worked out with your teen. Keeping things predictable will make it less personal and less heated.
- Don’t be mean. “Parents have to be careful not to get negative,” says Wibbelsman. “Don’t start demeaning your kid, calling her a slob all the time. That doesn’t work.” Instead, you need to help build your teens’ self-image, and to encourage basic cleanliness as a sign of self-respect.
- Consider the larger issues. If you tell your teens that you’re making them wash your car to “build their character,” that probably won’t go over well. But remember that requiring your teens to clean up around the house isn’t only about your personal desire to have a neat living room.
“There’s a larger purpose to getting your kids to clean up after themselves,” says Wibbelsman. “Parents are teaching their kids an important lesson about respecting other people and other people’s property.” Keeping things tidy really will matter when they’re adults.
“In a few years, these adolescents will be on their own and dating,” says Wibbelsman. “They’ll have roommates. They need to know how to clean up after themselves.” Treating your teens seriously – and talking about how their behavior will affect their adult lives – might really help the conversation, Wibbelsman says.
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.
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.
Getting Teens to Do Chores
Using a chore chart to get your teenager to do their share around the house might seem like a good idea. But I wouldn’t recommend it.
In this article I will break down the science of chores, explain why a chore chart is a bad idea for teenagers, and reveal a better strategy parents can use to get teens to start pulling their weight around the house.
Things aren’t like they used to be…
In a recent study, sociologist Markella Rutherford analyzed the content of parenting advice columns going back to 1931. She found something really interesting. Parents today give their kids a lot less freedom outside the home.
While parents in the 40’s and 50’s had no problem letting kids walk to school as early as age 5, or ride to bus to a strange city by themselves for the day at age 12, today’s parents feel the need to supervise their kids constantly.
But inside of the home the opposite trend has occurred. In this domain, today’s kids have more freedom. Parents are now much more likely to let kids make their own decisions about food and eating, clothing, hygiene, and how clean or dirty to keep their rooms.
Why did this happen?
During the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, there was a huge increase in the importance parents place on academic achievement. Markella’s research shows that, as we have become more and more concerned with instilling the value of learning, we’ve started to care less about teaching responsibility.
The chore chart is a perfect example of this.
In fact, the chore chart is a relatively new invention, but it is a symptom of a much deeper change that has taken place during the past 50 years in the way parents approach responsibility.
The study found that, while parents in the 1940’s expected their children to participate in all kinds of household chores from planning meals, shopping, cooking, and cleaning to maintenance, woodworking, and yard work, parents today see schoolwork as a child’s main job.
With this shift came the entrance of the chore chart. Up until the end of the 50’s, children were expected to pitch in with all household chores and the only reward needed was “pride in a job well done.” But today parents almost universally rely on external rewards to motivate their kids to do chores.
This includes allowance and points that can be cashed in for prizes or money.
Many parents turned to the chore chart.
But the bribes are clearly not working. Today, while 82% of parents report that they were required to do chores as a child, only 28% say they require their own children to do any, according to a recent study.
Why am I making such a big deal out of this? Who cares if kids aren’t doing as many chores today?
Well, it isn’t just my personal opinion; science proves that chores are a good thing for kids. Decades of studies confirm that chores lead to positive outcomes later in life.
For instance, consider the research of Marty Rossman. She spent about 30 years studying the same group of kids all the way through young adulthood and she found that the ones whose parents gave them chores starting at ages 3-4 were more successful during their mid-20’s, had better relationships, and were better adjusted.
Yes, chores are good for kids.
So then what’s the problem with using a chore chart to motivate your teenager to help out a bit?
Why a Chore Chart Won’t Work
One of the most famous studies in the history of social psychology was conducted by Edward Deci of the University of Rochester in 1972.
Fascinated by the concept of motivation, Deci recruited a group of students and had them work on a difficult puzzle. Some of the students got paid for solving the puzzle correctly while others just did it for free. Then he left them alone for 8 minutes while a second researcher watched them secretly through a one-way mirror.
The students who had been paid for completing the puzzle showed little interest in playing with it during their free time. Those who had done it for free spent significantly more of the 8 minutes working on the puzzle voluntarily. Deci realized that payment had reduced intrinsic motivation.
Fast-forward to the present day.
In a more recent paper, a pair of economists from Princeton and MIT followed up on Deci’s groundbreaking work, analyzing the hidden costs of paying people to do things.
One of the problems they uncovered is known as diminished task attractiveness.
Here’s how it works.
When you pay teens or use a chore chart to reward them for doing chores, they internalize the message that chores are not fun. You are subconsciously communicating that helping out around the house is so lame they shouldn’t do it unless they are paid.
For the rest of their lives they will see chores as unattractive.
Another consequence these economists uncovered is reduced self-esteem. Studies show that when a child does a chore without being paid it has a positive impact on his or her self image. The child thinks, “I am a helper,” and “I am a good person.”
But when children are paid for doing work, even if they do an excellent job, this effect disappears. In fact, their self-esteem actually suffers.
A chore chart causes kids to internalize that they are motivated by money.
Here’s What You
Can Do Instead
First, you need to consider how you are assigning chores to your teenager. Parents today are often unfair in the way they distribute chores around the house. Studies show that girls spend 30% more time doing housework than boys and are 15% less likely to receive allowance for their chores.
So fairness is critical.
What about using a chore rotation, where different kids are assigned different chores each week or each month?
This approach isn’t ideal either.
I don’t recommend assigning chores at all.
To understand why, consider a study I just completed a few months ago. I created a website that gave teenagers information about alcohol, which was designed to reduce their drinking. For some of the kids, I programmed the website to tell them that they had been assigned to receive the information about alcohol.
For others, I programmed it to display a slot machine-style spinner in which 8 different topics whirled by for a few seconds before it “randomly” stopped on alcohol.
Which group of students do you think responded better?
Yep, you guessed it. When I followed up with the kids a few weeks later, the ones who “randomly” got alcohol feedback had reduced their drinking significantly more than the ones who were “assigned” to get it. But the feedback was exactly the same in both conditions! So what happened?
People, and especially children and teenagers, are resistant to anything that impinges on our freedom. Numerous studies have confirmed this over the years.
But my research shows that using random chance reduces or even completely eliminates these defensive reactions.
Problems with the chore chart…
When you use a chore chart, you are telling your kids exactly what they need to do in order to gain a reward. This is a threat to their freedom. They might comply with your demands in order to get the prize, but they definitely aren’t going to like it.
Instead, try using an element of random chance.
Keep a list pinned to the fridge or a bulletin board in a prominent place like the kitchen. On this list, keep track of the things that need to get done around the house. Importantly, allow and encourage anyone in the family to add items to the list as they see fit.
Next, select a time when the family will do chores. This could be once a week, like an hour every Saturday afternoon. Or it could be three times a week, like 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Or daily, like 15 minutes each evening at a certain time. It doesn’t matter when or how long, just that all family members are available during this time to do some chores.
When the time arrives, sit down together and look over the list. Instead of assigning the various tasks to family members, or writing the tasks on a chore chart, introduce a random element.
For instance, you could have everyone roll dice and let whoever rolls the highest number pick a chore. Or you could write the chores on slips of paper and have people draw them out of a hat.
Make it fun!
Trust me. Hold off on the chore chart and give this a try instead. Unlike the chore chart or a chore rotation, this approach is actually based on scientific research. But remember:
Parents have to participate too.
This is critical. If you try to force your teenager to do chores without doing any yourself it will invoke a concept I discussed earlier: diminished task attractiveness. Your kids will get the message that chores are lame. Parents are not exempt from this ritual!
I get it. You work all day and drive your teen around and coordinate their schedule and spend thousands of dollars taking care of their every need. So why should you have to actually do chores together with them?
It doesn’t seem fair.
But think about it from your teenager’s point of view. Kids have busy lives too. Depending on their age they likely have school, homework, sports practices, clubs, and organizations to attend. By exempting yourself from chores, you communicate to them that your responsibilities are more important than theirs.
This will invoke the other concept I talked about earlier: reduced self-esteem.
So the formula is simple: assign the chores randomly, do them together, and don’t pay your teen to do them.
Success starts at home!
Compiling a list of useful chores for teens is time-consuming if you had to sit down and write. Moreover, you will be stuck after jotting down a few. Hence, to ease your work, here is a comprehensive article that not only features the most useful household chores for teenagers but also guides you about inculcating the art of responsibility in your kids.
So, let’s get started.
10 Most Useful Chores For Teens
When it comes to age-appropriate chores, there isn’t a big difference in the type of tasks older teens and adults do. In fact, the work phase taught or done here is something that is carried lifelong.
In short, older teens tend to have same responsibility levels that most adults do. That’s ultimately what the objective of sharing home responsibilities is: preparing your teen or kid to become a responsible human in the later years. As they enter into their adulthood, they will be ready to go with better responsibilities. No wonder most chores for teens tend to be common for adults too!
Considering this, here is a detailed chore list for teens to make a note of:
1. Sweeping & Vacuuming The Floor
These two tasks seem simple. Well, all it takes is to drag the broom or vacuum cleaner across the floor. However, this is not what an effective sweeper does. Proper sweeping
Santa helper hat is optional!
requires good practice, and this chore is something to be inculcated in the early stage.
It helps increase concentration, inculcates the art of perfecting a job, and teaches to be patient.
Though this cleaning habit is something to be taught when a kid is 7 to 8 years old, teenage isn’t a bad idea too if you have missed it in the early years.
Also Read: How to get kids to do chores
2. Keeping The Bathroom Neat And Clean
Learning to keep the bathroom neat and clean is one of the best chores for teens, and there are good reasons why.
Learning to keep the bathroom cleans inculcates the importance of personal hygiene and teaches to be clean.
Teenage is indeed the right time to learn how to scrub the sink properly, remove the toothpaste residue, wipe the counter, spritz the mirror, and clean the toilet. Subconsciously, these little tasks teach the art of responsibility. Of course, it is not going to build in a day. It takes some time.
3. Mopping The Floor
Mopping a floor with perfection is an activity that is best suited not only for teenagers but also for older-aged school kids (9 – 10). Kids of this age will be old and matured enough to understand as well as learn the art of mopping without much administration.
engaging in a cleaning activity just for 20 minutes helps in reducing stress and anxiety by 20%. Mopping would be a fantastic addition. – British Journal of Sports Medicine
But give an introduction though. Teach them how to prep the mop water, wring out the mop, rinse the mop head, how to clean the hard spots, clean the bucket & mop once it is done, and finally, the correct way to store the mop.
Also, give them explicit instructions to mop various floor types. Understand that different floor types require special mopping techniques. Say, for instance, wooden floors need a different style of mopping than floors that are tile-based.
4. Tidying The Living Room Every Week
Teach your teen to dust, clean, and tidy the living room every week. This isn’t just limited to the living room alone but can be extended to other rooms as well. This task doesn’t take much time and most teens learn to complete it with ease and pretty quickly.
Besides making the room look clean and pleasant, a task like “tidying” has multiple health benefits. It helps improve mental health and prevents allergies.
Once your kid has knocked off all the dust from objects, the next step is to vacuum up. Set the routine and give instructions about every cleaning phase. Put the old magazines away and organize whatever is lying around. Use the 2-week rule for other items. Say, for instance, if you have not used an item actively in the last 2 weeks – put that away in the storage area.
5. Removing The Clutter
Mommmmyyyyy!!! My pet turtle is missing!!! HELP me find it!
De-cluttering is one of the most useful chores for teens. I know that this could be a little difficult, as this is an activity that even adults get perplexed with. However, teaching this art at this age phase has enormous benefits.
Teaching teens the art of de-cluttering helps with anger management and teaches them to be organized.
When you teach your kids to remove clutter from the house from a young age and on a regular basis, this becomes a habit, which, in turn, is carried forward lifelong. Start this task by showing an example. First, you as a parent, de-clutter your stuff and let your teens watch that.
Explain to them what needs to be de-cluttered and what things require to stay back. While some teens might be interested in donating unused items to people, who are less fortunate others might be inspired by selling clutter items to save money on something that they really want to get.
6. Cooking A Delicious Meal
So, yes this is going to be a hard part because not many teens will be interested in cooking a meal. But understand that this is important when he or she gets into adulthood.
Cooking helps teens and kids to eat healthily, maintain a good body shape, and be independent.
With an art like cooking, you will not only be helping your teens develop amazing food skills but also be inculcating healthy eating habits that last for a lifetime. This is not going to develop in a day. So, you got to be patient and never lose your temper over this.
The best way to start is to talk about food. This encourages a fondness for healthy eating and cooking. Explain to them why eating healthy foods is important and respect their viewpoint on it. Gradually, take this session to the next level. Read a few cookbooks or watch some good cooking shows together.
Next, begin with healthy eating habits, and this indeed calls for a proper plan. Ask them what they would prefer for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the entire week. Sit together and write down a clear grocery list.
Then, take your teens to the grocery store and have them check off all the stuff on the list once bought. Also, it is a great habit to make them read the food label so that they are familiar with different ingredients that go into making. With this, they will also understand what packaged foods contain healthier options, and eventually, they will realize what to buy and what not to.
Finally, put your teens in charge. Help them decide the dinner menu and have them chop, prepare, and cook themselves. But make sure that you keep an eye on them and monitor whatever they do. You can assist them wherever required but avoid interrupting and taking the entire task over! Initially, this is going to be a mess but ignore it. Don’t lose your temper over it. Instead, guide them and teach how to keep the kitchen tidy once the task is done.
7. Getting Them To Babysit
Babysitting is yet another excellent job for teenagers. It not only teaches them to handle kids but also a great way to make quick cash. Though your teen might be enthusiastic about it, understand that caring and handling younger children isn’t that easy as it sounds.
Babysitting helps teens to handle different things in life and teaches them to be responsible for every phase of life.
Hence, before kick-starting with it, you need to guide them through. The truth is that not all teens might be ready for babysitting. While some may be interested in it, others might not be ready to take up such a responsible job.
This is a great opportunity, which requires trust, responsibility, and maturity. Some teens naturally have what it takes to become a babysitter but others don’t. Nevertheless, if your teen is absolutely ready, given that you guide him or her about it, it is an excellent activity.
Babysitting is one of the most invaluable experiences for both the family and the sitter, which he or she handles as well as cares for. This experience makes teens realize many things.
Eventually, this brings a sense of maturity and responsibility. They are trusted with young kids to take care of them, watch for their safety issues, plan different activities, and deal with other crucial tasks. All these help teens to be more mature.
8. Getting Them To Make Their Beds And Clean The Mess Around
Let’s get this. Not all teens are messy or unclean. But if your teen doesn’t fall under this category, then it is high time to assign this chore on a daily basis. If your teen’s bed is messy and his or her room is disgusting or unorganized, and if this bothers you, it is time to fix.
Getting teens to make their beds and clean the mess lying around their rooms can help them stay organized, teaches them to set goals and finish them complete on time.
Teens should learn to take care of themselves and their belongings. In fact, this habit is carried forward for their entire lives and is more like a legacy that is later passed on to the upcoming generations. So, this has to be started early.
9. Getting Them To Turn Off The Lights When Not In Use
This is certainly one of the best chores for teens to assign. This habit when inculcated early, teaches them to save energy and money in the long run. It sounds like an easy request: “Buddy, switch off the lights whenever you leave the room.”
However, the more you remind your teen about it, the lesser they do. The result? Your home remains to light up with each switch left on. This habit is intuitive to you but not to your teenager.
Teaching teens to turn off the lights actually helps them realize the importance of saving energy and money from a young age. This little job then turns out to be a life-changing habit for them in the later years.
Nevertheless, when nagging doesn’t work, there are even better tricks to get them to do this simple task. Here is a quick tip. Since teenagers crave responsibility, organizing a good family meeting and showing them the electric bill will help them realize its importance.
Parents tend to do a disservice to their kids when they assume that they are never going to understand that electricity costs money. Make them realize that money doesn’t grow on trees. We need to sweat to earn it.
10. Throwing The Trash Away
Okay, kids. It is time to clean and throw the trash away. The moment this phrase is made, your kids or teens whine, dawdle, and get distracted. As days pass, the reminders that you set every morning get too loud and demanding.
Yeah, we understand that struggle. Parents usually feel that they have to enforce some orders. It is true that teens want their little rooms to be completely their own – untidy – castles. Well, the brawl escalates. At times, threats or bringing them emotionally down gets things done. But at the end of the day, everyone is furious or in a bad mood.
Throwing the trash and keeping things clean helps teens to be stress-free and boost self-esteem. Moreover, it increases their productivity levels at a young age.
There are times when parents exhaust and completely give up and do the most of the job themselves but in frustration. This is why it is important to establish regular routines so that there is stability in their lives. This will help them in their adulthood while facing challenges.
Get the kids involved in helping around the house while teaching them important life skills with these printable chores for teenagers!
As my kids get older and older, my time with them under my roof gets shorter and shorter. Funny how that works. I know there will be days in the future that I’ll miss the dirty socks lying around.. but with teenagers in my home, I feel like they should be at the point where they are picking up after themselves. In an attempt to get them to do more, I created printable chores for teenagers.
Interested in a full set of cleaning printables? Get them here!
Chores are a great debate in every family. How much your child can do will greatly depend on their personality, their age and your willingness to stand firm in expectations. All three of my kids are extremely different from each other. What works for one, doesn’t work for the other. As their parent, you know what will work best for each of your children so go with that. But here are some chores that you can work on :
- How to do the Laundry
- Clean the Kitchen
- How to Clean the Bathroom
- Clean Your Room
- Teaching Kids How to Iron
Household Chores List
To make these printables
- Download the printables below.
Get the original job cards.
- Print out printables.
I can’t resist laminating everything — but really it will help them last longer. This is the laminator I have. And read why I love my lamination machine.
- Cut using a paper cutter/scissors.
- Punch a hole in the corner of each card.
- Add all cards onto a binder clip and hang where you can easily find them.
Free Printable Chore Charts
If you like these printables, you’ll probably want to download these too:
- Printable Chore Chart for Kids
- Job Cards
- Chore List Time Card
And also check out –
- 10 Genius Ways to Get Kids to Do Chores
- Chores by Age
For personal use only.
Read more from Eva-Maria here
*as published in Family Times*
Household Chores is probably one of the most debated issues within a household. As your kids grow up, and ultimately become teenagers, provided they haven’t left home, a lot of conflict may arise from misunderstandings about what the responsibilities at home are.
I remember being a teenager, and this is probably the way I can most help advise parents – not because others haven’t been teenagers, but perhaps because as we grow older, we forget what we used to be like some time ago, so offering the perspective of teens has been the secret to my success. Anyway, when I was a teenager, I remember coming home one day, exhausted after a sports day at school, ready to watch some ‘deserved’ TV. What I found myself in was not what I was expecting – a screaming match with my Dad who was nagging me to do the dishes. “Do the dishes? It’s 4pm! Pfff I have a whole another 8 hours left until the end of day (my amazing logical teenage rationale) – what’s his problem? I’ll get onto it… at some point…” What I didn’t understand in all my naivety was understanding where he was coming from. All I wanted to do was have my freedom after my ‘exhausting’ day at school, and the least I thought I could do at home was exercise my right to blob around; after all, I was an adult, or so I thought…
Many parenting authors claim that teens today are hard, and annoying, and have way too much freedom. I’m not one of those, but I am one that likes to keep reminding parents that in today’s world, teens are hard to parent, not because they are un-contactable (we have cell phones for that now), or that parents don’t know what their teens are up to (there’s Facebook for that), but that teens today do not know the boundaries. Pretty much it is because children today are raised to believe that they literally can be anything they want to be, and growing up in a world that gives us that much scope for what we can do, is intimidating – we have no idea where the boundaries are, because all we hear is that we can do ANYTHING. And in our teenage minds, anything really does mean ANYTHING. So we’re not sure where the boundaries are – it’s as simple as that.
What may seem to be common-sense for parents, isn’t necessarily the same thought pattern of teenagers, unless they are given strict guidelines, or rules to enforce where the black and white areas are. For a parent, it’s important to realize that if you haven’t set out the black and white areas, teenagers are more than happy to make up their own rules in their head of what is acceptable and what is not, and if they ever get caught out, their alibi is that ‘they didn’t know the rules’. And THAT is dangerous.
This article was actually inspired by an article written by Dr. James Wellborn on Your Teen for Parents about why teens need chores. Have a look at one of the questions he was sent:
Question: I am embarrassed to admit this, but my teenager is a slob and we pick up after him. He walks into the house and deposits all of his personal belongings on the floor. Worse yet, when he finishes an apple, he leaves the core on the table. He has no household responsibilities. What should I do?
After doing some of my own research and asking around, most people my age (early twenties) claimed that this sounds exactly like any other teenager. I think this is a good starting point: that does sound exactly like any teenager out there, and through the ages, teenagers and their attitudes haven’t actually changed, it’s just the way parents react to their attitudes and what they do to balance this out in their household that is different. As I explained before, today’s teens know no boundaries, and it’s just because parents who are the ones supposed to be enforcing these boundaries are falling short. Not all parents, but a great deal, if statistics is anything to go by. Statistics NZ numbers show that youth in this country up to their early twenties are by far the largest statistic of those moving out of home.
A quick look on Google shows that there are millions of articles written for parents about how to kick their teens out of home, and advice for teens wanting to move out of home. Unfortunately, even when they move out, chores will not be something they can avoid, so whether you can’t wait for your teen to move out, or are happy for them to stick around, it’s best to instil the household responsibilities while you still have them around.
So the real answer is in the actual question: the teenager in question does not know their boundaries, and have literally no responsibilities. Responsibilities at home are very important, so here are a few tips to keep in mind, so you don’t end up in the same situation as the mother asking the question above:
1. Give them the rules.
Spell them out, write them down. Make a chart that you put up on the fridge, or somewhere in a visible place in the house. Just like a well-organised flat, give everyone responsibilities they can stick to, and can execute to their abilities. It’s also good because when something isn’t done, you can refer back to this chart.
2. Communicate the rules.
Make sure the rules are clear. If the task is to do the dishes, spell out that the task ALSO involves, for example, not only stacking the dishwasher, but also unloading it. Again, if you don’t make the rules clear, it’s easy for teens to stray away from responsibility (and they’re very good at doing that – trust me, I was!)
3. Keep calm.
Just because your teen hasn’t vacuumed by 6pm on their ‘chores day’, don’t get too wound up. Some teens are great with their time management, and are probably planning to do this before midnight strikes. However if from experience you know that chores may be avoided by your teen, give them a gentle reminder. If you want to avoid conflict as much possible, perhaps on your chores chart, also give a time when the chores must be done, or at least the time they must be done by. Again, you’ll see here my theme of enforcing strict, exact rules that are hard to avoid or bring about any confusion.
4. Have clear consequences.
What will it mean if the chores are not done on time? Perhaps this is something you must sit down and discuss with your teen when you’re making the chores chart. The consequence must be something that will motivate them to do the chores. If taking their phone away for two hours is what you see as a consequence and you are the one to suggest it, your teen will quickly start weighing up whether it’s worth it to do the chores, and if they decide that having their phone taken away is not that big of a deal, you may find lots of chores not getting done, you’ll have to stick to the rules and take away their phone thinking they’ll learn the lesson, when in fact, they are just using loopholes to get around not doing them. So talk the consequences over with them, and make them substantial.
5. Lead by example – everyone has a part to play.
The beauty of the chores chart is that you can assign tasks to everyone – it does not mean you must do an equal amount of chores as your teen, in fact, I advise you do the minimal amount because, after all, you ARE the one paying the mortgage or rent on your home, and from my hindsight and ‘wise’ years of experience, it should be the teen’s responsibility to help out as much as they can. But make sure that they see that you’re doing something as well so they don’t feel you’re purely taking advantage.
So what process have you figured out at home that helps you and your teens live in chore-harmony?
This weeks statement of the obvious: Teenagers don’t like doing housework! (Who does?)
If the previous statement is true, then it would appear that teenagers may be getting their own way more and more. A recently released Australian study found the amount of time teenagers spend contributing to household chores has dropped significantly over the last 18 years.
There could be many reasons for this. Teenagers might be getting smarter and more cunning. Technological advances may mean there is less time needed for housework. People are living in smaller houses and making less mess. Or perhaps a more plausible reason is that parents are choosing to opt out of getting teens to contribute and find it easier just to do it for them.
If it is the case that parents are requiring less of teenagers around the house, then that is bad news for parents and teenagers. Bad news for parents because they are doing more. Bad news for teenagers because doing household chores can contribute significantly to their development.
What The Research Says
The study, which was published in the Australian Institute of Family Studies journal Family Matters, analysed the contribution of 7000 15 to 19-year-olds. Using data compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics time-use surveys from 1992, 1997 and 2006, the researchers found that teenagers’ overall contribution to household work was small and getting smaller.
Researchers noted there was greater gender equality in the teenage contribution to housework with “girls becoming more ‘domestically useless’ like their brothers, rather than in boys doing more.”
Some of the findings from the research were:
- The average time boys spent doing household tasks was 10 minutes /day in 2006. In 1992 it was 20 minutes/day.
- The average time girls spent fell doing household tasks was 28 minutes /day in 2006. In 1992 it was 40 minutes / day.
- 1 in 3 (33%) of teenage boys did no housework at all in 2006. In 1992 the figure was 25%
- Nearly 16% of teenager girls did no housework at all in 2006. In 1992 the figure was only 5.6 %.
Why Housework is Important for Teenagers
Mutual Responsibility – Contribution to household work is an important means of modeling and teaching teenagers what it means to belong to a family and a community. For the household unit to work all members need to contribute. Satisfaction is more evenly distributed when responsibility is equally shared and active concern demonstrated by all members. Household chores not only get practical things done, they demonstrate what it is to belong and contribute.
For this reason chores should not be linked to allowance or enforced with punishment. Being a responsible family member should not be offered as choice, rather communicated as a must. When linked to allowance a teenager can choose to pay to avoid work. Similarly the punishment may not be as bad as the chore so a teenager chooses the punishment. While there is a cost to the teenager in both cases, there is a cost to the family also. More over there is an unhelpful message – housework is about you and your choices.
Contributing to the household should be presented as a message of mutual concern and shared responsibility.
Life Skills – Way to many teenagers, or young adults these days, leave home without having a clue how to cook or clean. This epidemic of domestic helplessness is easily curtailed by delegating basic household tasks to teenagers as they get old enough to handle it. There is nothing stopping teenagers learning to cook at least one meal a week for the family, or learning to do a couple of loads of laundry a week. When parents choose the easier path by doing everything for them, they set teens up to walk the harder path later when they leave the nest.
How to Get Teenagers Doing Chores
Start early – Many parents don’t require kids to contribute to household chores until they enter adolescence. Unfortunately this makes the task harder. Teenagers are naturally resistant to authority, introducing a new parent enforced requirements will be met with resistance. If teens have grown up with the expectation as normal they may still start to resist, but it will be a lot easier for a parent to manage.
Be Clear – Make sure your teen knows exactly what is required. This means clearly define the nature of task, show where things are that might be needed, and clearly state when, or how often, it needs to be done. If a task needs to be executed in a particular way, like operating the dishwasher correctly, make sure you demonstrate exactly what needs to be done. For young teenagers a visible prompt, like a roster on the fridge, is a big help.
Co-operative Compliance – Teenagers will always need something from their parents. Parents can model family and household co-operation as a two-way deal by agreeing to a teenager’s request for help on the condition an as yet un-completed chore is done.
Consequential Learning – This one is real simple. Make part of their contribution to the household something that they also need. If the chore is not done then they share in the consequences of it not being done. For instance making kids responsible for part or all of their own laundry means if they don’t do their chores they have no clean clothes.
Be Consistent – If a chore is important and getting it done matters to the family then it should be treated as important all the time. Parents need to be consistent in enforcing requirements for chores to be done. If teenagers get the message that sometimes a chore matters and other times it doesn’t they will quickly choose to hear that it never matters. Once this happens getting done will be tiresome and drawn out process every time. Be consistent. If it matters, it matters every time.
Negotiate – As suggested earlier contributing to household duties should not be seen as an option, it is a “must” like showering and homework. But teenagers like to feel like they are dong things based on independent choice, not external compulsion. So while the chore may not be negotiable, how or when is carried out might be. Negotiating with the teenager in terms of timing or method gives the teenager a sense of independent choice in the completion of the task, and if the end result is satisfactory to you, then you have removed a significant barrier.
Show Appreciation – None of us like to be taken for granted – even in the little things. This is especially true of teenagers who will feel like they deserve the noble prize for every contribution they make. It is helpful to acknowledge and thank teenagers from time to time for the contribution they make. Particularly express how their contribution contributes to the family life together, and thus re-enforce the message of mutual responsibility.
Image by wakalani
10 Free Printable Chore Chart Templates for Kids, Teens, Adults, and Your Family
Last Updated on January 30, 2020
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If you are reading this… you have kids.
And your kids have chores that you would like them to do.
Like them to do.
Remember those words.
You’d like them to help out around the house.
Help out with their siblings.
But whether or not they actually do it… that remains to be seen.
Let’s be honest… telling kids to do something is easy, but getting them to actually do it is the tricky part.
No matter what their age, humans by nature like to feel rewarded for their efforts.
Kids are no different.
They like to be given more than just a pat on the back for a job well done… they crave the feeling of working towards something bigger.
For the littlest ones, the reward needs to come fast.
It’s that whole short attention span thing.
Conversely, older kids are more likely to be okay with waiting… especially if they know it will pay off in the way of a trip to the movies, a new video games, etc….
And that is where the chore chart comes in.
No matter what their age, humans by nature like to feel rewarded for their efforts. Kids are no different.
So let’s get down to it, shall we?
(Side note: One great habit that you can build is to read and learn something new every day. A great tool to do this is to join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley. This newsletter is a 5-minute read that’s informative, witty and FREE!)
The (Dreaded) Chore List
First rule of thumb… chores should be age appropriate.
That is key.
After all, you wouldn’t ask a 4-year-old to wash the family car… anymore than you would ask a 16-year-old to make his own bath.
And while creating age appropriate chores may seem daunting… it’s really not.
It’s more about knowing your kids… their personalities, their limitations, etc… than about blindly assigning them jobs just for the sake of it.
Keeping that in mind, start by asking yourself two questions:
How old is my child?
Is he or she capable of doing “x”?
Now, because I’m so awesome, I’ve gone ahead and done the research for you… breaking down chores by age category:
The chore chart you create should incorporate these, along with corresponding incentives.
But we will get to that in a minute.
No matter what their age, humans by nature like to feel rewarded for their efforts. Kids are no different.
Todders are simple creatures.
They wear their hearts on their sleeves… and can have a hard time expressing themselves.
Case in point… the temper tantrum, which is typically them just not knowing how to process a feeling or desire (ie… being tired, hungry or frustrated).
You can’t ask them to take on too much too soon; however, assigning simple chores gives them a sense of pride and self worth.
Believe it or not, they like to help at this age.
Keeping all of this in mind, try and think of a chore chart for toddlers as more of a guidebook for improving their developmental and motor skills… and less about responsibility.
Examples of chores for toddlers include:
- Putting toys away
- Handing items to mom and dad when asked
- Potty training
Turn these mini milestones into a fun, engaging chore chart… and you will both go the distance!
Want a copy of Toddler Chores Chart Templates? Click any of the buttons below to download the PDF!
By this age, most children are in school for at least a few hours each week.
Whether it is pre-k or kindergarten, kids are learning more than just the alphabet and counting… they are being socialized.
They are refining their motor skills.
Things like learning how to share, tie their shoes, zipper their coats, eat with utencils… these are all valuable skills that will benefit them later in life.
The chore chart should mirror that.
Examples of chores for kinders include:
- Selecting their outfits for school
- Helping set the dinner table
- Putting on their pajamas
- As always, use your common sense.
It’s probably not a good idea for kids this age to be putting glasses on the table; but, they can certainly get all of their plastic or paper dishes and cups out.
Holding them mildly accountable for helping will give them a great sense of pride.
Want a copy of Kinder Chore Chart Templates? Click any of the buttons below to download the PDF!
Early Elementary Chores
Kids grow up fast.
Seriously, one minute you are swaddling them in your arms… the next they are glued to their tablets and tv sets.
Mickey Mouse is no longer cool… he’s been replaced by the likes of Sponge Bob, Bart Simpson and some girl named “Jessie”.
So after we take a moment to wax nostalgia (sigh), we need to focus our attention on what that means for their responsibilities at home.
If kids this age can figure out how to download video games and program the DVR, they can certainly handle a little more on the ol’ chore chart.
Their chores should now incorporate a handful of items that they can actually take off your list.
Chores such as:
- Making their bed
- Putting clean laundry away
- Feeding the dog
Want a copy of Early Elementary Chore Chart Templates? Click any of the buttons below to download the PDF!
Double Digit Chores
Ah… what a glorious age!
Your child is now expressing themselves… loud and clear!
Not always in a good way either.
If may feel as if “Sassy” has become your daughter’s middle name… and you son practically lives in his room with headphones on all day.
You are well versed in what a selfie is… and may have now been asked by your child to stand 30 feet behind them at the bus stop.
Yes, time flies.
We need to adapt.
And so must the chore chart.
At this age, some Double Digit duties should include:
- Packing their school lunches
- Taking out the recycling
- Loading/Unloading the dishwasher
It may seem very “hard knock life” to you… but, trust me, they can handle these things. And you deserve the help!
Want a copy of Double Digit Chore Chart Templates? Click any of the buttons below to download the PDF!
High School Chores
By now, your kids are truly young adults.
They are able to drive a car…
Can walk home from school on their own…
Use the oven…
Have a curfew.
Every bit of effort you have put into raising your child is coming full circle now.
You are privy to a glimpse into the man or woman they will eventually become. And, hopefully, you are proud.
That being said, their chores should reflect their unique personality and abilities… now more than ever.
Unload some of your daily chore burdens on them… without weighing them down too much, or dismissing their extracurriculars and other obligations.
Keep your eye on the prize… molding responsible, well rounded human beings.
Do that, and the chore chart will compliment everyone.
Some popular high school chore ideas include:
- Doing the laundry
- Babysitting/driving siblings
- Yard work
You’ve put in the hours… and earned yourself a little extra help around this house.
You also shouldn’t have to pay for it, in the way of a “mother’s helper” or cleaning service, when you have perfectly capable teens running amuck.
Want a copy of High School Chore Chart Templates? Click any of the buttons below to download the PDF!
So, much like you wouldn’t hire someone to clean your house and not pay them… your kids need to feel as if completing their chores will offer them something in return.
The reward, so to speak, should vary by age… much like the chore chart, itself.
A toddler, for instance, may enjoy an ice cream cone… or a new doll… for a job well done.
Whereas a child age 4 or 5 may much rather stay up 20 minutes late… or earn themselves an extra hour of television time.
The elementary student likely wants something a little more…
Maybe it’s to see the new Lego movie with a friend in theaters.
Or go out to lunch on a Saturday with just you, at the restaurant of their choosing.
The value a child this age places on alone time with a parent, especially if they have siblings, is more than you think.
As for your 10-15 year old, spending time with you may not be top on their wish list these days.
Don’t worry. This too shall pass.
Try to be brave and give them what they do want… a new outfit, video game, a trip to the water park with two friends.
The reward here may take a little more earn, which is ok.
A good idea, in fact.
Make them accountable.
They need to put in the hard work for the reward… otherwise they may always expect things to be handed to them.
And that would not end well for either of you.
But don’t fret.
By the time your son or daughter is 16, they’ve likely come back around.
In some instances, they may even view you as a friend and confident now.
They value the sacrifices you’ve made for them… your advice…. your opinion.
Helping is the least they can do.
Still, it should be acknowledged.
Popular rewards for teenagers may include:
- new hockey gear
- borrowing the family car for a night
- concert tickets
The chore chart at this age is more about keeping them organized than accountable.
Make it simple, but perhaps let them write in their own incentives.
They will be inclined to work harder if it’s for something they truly want.
The Printable Chore Chart
These are intentionally left blank so that you both have the opportunity each week to check in and re-prioritize if need be.
For instance, if you see that your child is having a tough time with completing one or more of the items, maybe you need to change them up a bit.
Or even eliminate one or two.
There will be a learning curve… but one you can successfully drive together.
Final Thoughts on the Chore Chart
The chore chart can be as simple, or as complex, as you want it to be.
The key is to select the one that works best for your child. The one that you will have the most success with.
Chores should not be torture for kids.
In fact, it’s just the opposite.
As with volunteering… the goal here is for your child to feel good about themselves when the chart is completed.
If you make the chart/reward system an obtainable one… it will work.
And remember: the chore chart can always be tweaked.
For instance, try this:
- Make one day “chore free”
- Don’t have too many time consuming chores in one day
- Make one or two items “fun chores” (ie, bake cookies with mom)
Rome wasn’t built in a day… but if you put a little bit of effort in, you will create a well-oiled chore machine that works for everyone in the family.
It’s as simple as that.
Finally, one great habit that you can build is to read and learn something new every day. A great tool to do this is to join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley. This newsletter is a 5-minute read that’s informative, witty and FREE.
Nicole Krause has been writing both personally and professionally for over 20 years. She holds a dual B.A. in English and Film Studies. Her work has appeared in some of the country’s top publications, major news outlets, online publications and blogs. As a happily married (and extremely busy) mother of four… her articles primarily focus on parenting, marriage, family, finance, organization and product reviews.