If you are having trouble motivating your teen to help around the house, you’re not alone. A typical teenager will find any number of things to do to put off doing housework and yard maintenance. What can you do to encourage your teen to do her share of work?
First, you need to recognize that teenagers will work better if they have a specific list of chores to do and a specific timeframe in which they need to complete them. If you verbally tell your teen that she needs to clean the bathroom, vacuum the living room rug, and dust the furniture, but you don’t give her a definite time to complete these jobs, you may discover that she occupies herself for a while with something that she considers more interesting. She may tell you that she’ll get busy in a little while after she does something else.
Unfortunately, once your teenager finally begins her assigned chores, he may only have a little bit of time left in his day to complete them, which means they aren’t finished, or they are not completed to your satisfaction. Instead of verbally listing several jobs for him to do, you might want to hand him a list. This will start him off in a more organized manner, and he can check off each job as he completes it.
Instead of letting you teen decide when she should get busy, give a warning earlier in the day, telling her that you will need her to complete several jobs later. Tell her when you will want her to get started. Then, as that time approaches, hand her the list. If she needs a little motivation, you might want to help her with the first chore a little, and once she’s into the swing of things, step back and let her finish on her own.
Keep in mind that your teen may not know exactly how to clean the tub or run the vacuum if she’s never done these things before. You may think that she has seen you do them enough, and she should know how to do it herself, but more than likely, she never really paid attention. Instead, take the time to model exactly how you want the chore completed. Make sure she has the necessary supplies and/or tools to do the job. You also want to make sure she knows how use those supplies and/or tools.
If you have special jobs that take longer periods of time and are only done periodically, you might to offer some incentive to him. For example: if a storm has brought down a lot of big tree limbs all over your yard, you may want to pay your teen a little extra money to clean up the yard and haul the limbs to the road. You don’t have to offer money every time, though. You could also offer to rent him the newest video game on the market or pay for an extra guitar lesson that week.
It is important that your teen understands that every member of the family is responsible for doing their share of the work. It will make it much easier for your teen to not protest having to work if she sees you and your spouse also doing something. Obviously, if there are siblings in the picture, see to it that everyone does their fair share. You should be able to find age appropriate chores for almost everyone.
Be sure and praise your teen for a job well done. Not only are you teaching your teenager to be responsible, but you are also teaching her to take pride in her work. You might even want to point out some of the things she does well when you have family and friends over. If you continue to provide your teenager with plenty of opportunities to contribute to the family, you will be instilling important values that will serve her for the rest of her life.