How to Get Your Teenager to Do Chores
Teenagers are at the age where exercising their freedoms and hanging out with their peers is more appealing than sitting home and cleaning their room, which can make getting your teenager to do chores quite difficult. Let’s face it, getting your teenager to clean their room might as well be a chore in itself. It can be tempting to avoid the arguments and eye-rolling, but with no change, there will still be a massive pile of dirty laundry, and dishes cluttering the sink. Raising a clean teen will take consistency and effort, but the results are not only beneficial for their personal development, they will also keep your house clean and shiny. Here’s what you can do to get your teenager motivated.
Tips For Getting Your Teenager to Do Chores
1. Adjust your expectations
The truth is, you most likely won’t be able to get your teenager to do every chore you want them to do. As a matter of fact, the more chores you pile on your teenager, the less likely they are to get them done, according to Tanya Altmann, MD, who explains that if your teen is refusing to make their bed and you’re constantly fighting about it, then you might want to take a step back. Assign your teenager only a few chores at a time, like drying the dishes after Sunday dinner, or making their bed before their friends come over. Ask your teenager to evaluate their work after, which according to Fred Provenzano, a psychologist, will establish a feeling of dominance and pride for them.
2. Be very clear.
Communication with your teenager is key. When you ask them to clean their room, what exactly do you want accomplished? Do you want them to just tidy up and put their clothes away? Or, do you want their room to be picked up, dusted, and vacuumed? The answer might seem like common sense to you, but your teenager could be on a completely different page.
3. Come to an agreement.
Instead of another argument with your teenager, figure out exactly what chores you want completed, and sit down to talk with them. Tell your teen that you want all of their items picked up off the floor, for example. As a reward, agree that their curfew will be extended or that you will buy them a new video game. Altmann explains that compromising in a way that makes your teenager feel comfortable, and not pushed, will more likely persuade them to do their chores.
4. Set weekly clean up times.
Schedule time each weekend where everyone has a task to complete around the house. You can even get a calendar and make a list for your teenager(s) to follow. The chores can be anything from housework to yard work. Just make sure that it can be completed within an appropriate time range.
5. Have consequences.
What if your teenager still doesn’t want to do their chores? Well, have set consequences when you initially give them a task. This way, you won’t say something you regret when you’re angry at them for being lazy (see: sloth). It is also important to keep your consequences predictable and consistent. For example, you could cut their allowance or make them cancel their plans with friends.
6. Refrain from micromanaging.
Once you give your teenager a task and deadline, step back, and let them work independently. According to Provenzano, this will teach them how to live on their own and support themselves. Nobody likes to be closely watched or criticized while getting something done. This will likely make your teenager not want to do their chores — leading to unnecessary conflict between the two of you.
7. Be a good example!
Youth learn by example, so if you want your teenager to be clean and responsible, you should be so yourself. Show your teenager how to do the chore the first time around, and then let them try it on their own. By being a good role model, you will teach your kids how to be grateful through discipline, hard work, and reward.
Getting Your Teenager to Do Chores
Ultimately, the key to getting your teenager to do chores is to be patient and have reasonable standards for them. Remember, you can’t change your teenager, but you can certainly help implement good habits for healthy development as they shift into adulthood. At the end of the day, it is important to have mutual respect between you and your teenager — and hopefully a clean house, too!