It won't be too long until your teenager is off to college, or moves into their first apartment or shared house. If you’re keen to help your teen learn to stand on their own two feet, you might consider asking them to help with household chores. Chores offer a great way for teenagers to learn valuable life skills that will help them prepare for when they leave home. In fact, when young people take on household chores, they are more likely to have successful professional lives as adults.
You may also be thinking about paying your teens for doing chores to help them start saving money towards their goals, whether that's saving for a car or moving out. If they have never had a job before, paying teens for chores also shows them the value of hard work and helps them develop good management skills, which could be valuable in the future. In fact, our Youth Economy Report reveals that 80% of young people believe that good money management skills will help their future career.
If you’re considering encouraging your teenager to help with chores, here's our guide to the best chores for teens.
How to keep your kids accountable with chore apps
If your teenager is new to the routine of doing chores or just busy juggling school, college, a part-time job and seeing their friends, it can be hard for them to keep track of what you've asked them to do. Fortunately, chore apps like GoHenry can help your teenager be accountable for the assigned tasks. You can set up tasks for your teenager to complete, and with the GoHenry app on their phone, they can easily check to see what they need to do and check off the tasks as they complete them.
Twenty best chore ideas for teens
While most teenagers will be able to carry out most tasks, if they've never done a specific chore before or are new to housework, they may need some guidance. It's a good idea to ask them to do just a couple of things a week to get them started into a routine. Then you can gradually build up the chores as they feel more confident and want to take on more. If your teenager can’t find a job or is too young for one, chores can be a great way to build their confidence, self-esteem and skills. If you decide to pay them for their efforts, it can also help bridge the gap while they look for a traditional part-time job.
Here are some of the best chore ideas for teens:
- Mopping floors
- Taking out the garbage and recycling
- Kitchen duty
- Simple DIY tasks
- Pet walking and feeding
- Prepping own school lunches
- Washing the family car (new)
- Cleaning bathroom
- Keeping their bedroom clean
- Grocery shopping
- Bringing in/sorting the mail
- Babysit/pick up from school younger siblings
- Clean the basement
- Clean the garage
- Wash windows
- Shampoo carpets
Most teenagers should be able to push the vacuum cleaner around the house. However, if they've never operated one before, it's good to give them a quick demonstration to know what to do and which rooms you want them to clean.
As with all the tasks you give your teen, don't assume they know what you expect from them. Show them where you keep the mop, bucket, and cleaning solution and how much cleaner to use. While it may all seem common sense to you, they may not know what they are supposed to do if they've never done it before.
Taking out the garbage and recycling
Taking out the trash and recycling is a fairly straightforward task and a good one to get your teenagers started. Ensure they know what can go in which bin and what days your bins are emptied.
It's up to you whether you want your teen to be responsible for doing just their laundry or for doing laundry for other family members too. Either way, knowing how to do their laundry is an essential life skill.
If your teen is already competent at cooking, ask them to make the family dinner once a week. Otherwise, you may have to give them a few cooking lessons first. You could even turn it into a useful financial education task for your teen by giving them a budget per person and asking them to plan the meal.
Ask your teenager if they could take charge of the kitchen and be responsible for setting the table and clearing dishes after meals, loading and unloading the dishwasher or washing the dishes.
Helping in the garden is a good chore for teenagers. Depending on what you need and their age and ability, they could mow the lawn, water the plants or do some planting and weeding.
Simple DIY tasks
If you have some simple DIY tasks that need doing, such as painting, building ready-to-assemble furniture or tidying the garage, depending on their skills and ability, you could ask your teenager to help.
Pet walking and feeding
Taking care of pets is an important and responsible job, and now is the perfect age for teens to learn how to do it. Have your teenager feed family pets, refill water bowls, take pets on walks, and clean up after them to help contribute to the household.
Prepping own school lunches
Most teens are capable of preparing their own school lunch and can create simple meals. Have your kid make their lunch the night before to create an easy routine and smoother morning for the whole family.
Washing the family car
Washing the family car is a great chore to add, especially in the summertime. A bucket, sponges, and water is all kids need to get this chore done. Teens can also take responsibility for cleaning their seats and trash out of the car, and prepare to take good care of their own car someday.
Have teens help keep their bathroom clean. Show them how to use different cleaners and the best ways to clean different areas. Great chores for teenagers cleaning the bathroom can include:
- Sink counters
- Bathtub and shower
Keeping their bedroom clean
In addition to making their bed daily, teach teens how to keep a clean space by tidying up their room regularly. Keeping the bedroom straightened is a good place to start, but also consider adding tasks like organizing the closet, vacuuming the room, or putting clothes away as chores for 13 year olds to earn money.
Chores for teenagers can also include basic grocery shopping and helping unload bags. If you’re comfortable sending your teen to the store, they can pick up essentials like milk and bread, or even shop for an entire family dinner. Grocery shopping can help kids practice money management skills and budgeting.
Bringing in/sorting the mail
Keep a designated spot in your home for teens to bring in and sort the mail so nothing gets lost. Have them check the mail at the same time every day to build a habit easily.
Babysit/pick up from school younger siblings
If your teen has younger siblings, you might consider adding babysitting to your list of paid chores. Older teens can also help pick younger siblings up from school.
Clean the basement
Projects make great chores for 13 year olds to earn money, especially when not in school. If you have a basement that needs organizing, have your teen help out. They can also do general cleaning tasks to contribute or earn extra cash.
Clean the garage
Like cleaning the basement, many parents are thrilled to have teens take on cleaning the garage. Show kids the best way to reorganize boxes and sort through clutter while cleaning the space up.
Washing windows is a regular chore that can help parents keep up on the endless list of housework. Have teens wash window sills and teach them how to wash window panes as well as blinds.
Teens can learn how to do more complex cleaning tasks with practice, like shampooing carpets and rugs. Show your teenager how to use any new machinery and the proper amount of cleaner. Give demonstrations and answer any questions as they practice.
Scheduling chores for your teens
You can help your teenager succeed in their chores by helping them devise a schedule of daily and weekly tasks. This will help them to know what needs to be done and when. For instance, they'll need to set the table every day, but they'll be required to cook a meal just once a week. Giving your teen a clear chore schedule will help them focus and make them less likely to procrastinate when it's time to get started.
Motivating teens to do chores
If your teenager has never done any household chores before, they may not feel very motivated to get started. Start by giving them just a couple of chores to begin with, and give them a chance to excel. This way, they'll quickly have a sense of pride from knowing they've done what's asked of them, and they'll feel motivated to carry on. It's also important that you give them age-appropriate chores.
Money is undoubtedly a big motivator for many teenagers and rewarding your teen for doing chores is a useful way to teach them about the link between work and money. Which is one of the many benefits of giving chores to kids.
Decide on a specific amount for each chore they complete. How much you pay is entirely up to you, and you may wish to pay more for harder tasks. Our Youth Economy Report discovered that the top housework earner, excluding homework, for young people is washing dishes, earning teens $1.76 per task. If you do need a guide, take a look at our article about how much should I pay my child for doing chores?
Tips for how to set chore payment scales
When deciding how much to pay teens for their chores, consider how often you want to pay teens for housework and how much each task will pay. There are a few options for setting payment scales:
- Pay per chore: Set each task with an individual amount and teens can complete each chore to get paid. Parents can pay out as they go or pick a set time to give kids their allowance for completing chores.
- Lump sum per week: A popular choice for parents is to send their teens one lump sum each week, typically on the same day each time. Allowances are usually paid based on a standard list of chores kids must get done each week.
- Extra bonus pay: Kids may earn extra money for additional, specific chores done throughout the week. Consider offering bonus chores or extra ways for kids to earn if you decide on a weekly lump sum transfer.
Lead by example; show them how
Teens learn best by watching and learning. If chores for teenagers are new, they’ll likely need you to demonstrate tasks and guide them in the beginning. Patience is key, and, with practice, your teens can learn from your example. Answer any questions and provide tips as you go.
Set clear expectations
Before teens can learn how to do a job correctly, they need to understand the expectations of a job well done. Make sure you clarify how you’d like a chore completed and use a chore app or chart to keep everything organized.
Establish fair consequences, if they don’t do them
While allowance and monetary rewards can help motivate kids to do chores, sometimes consequences are necessary when chores aren’t complete. Explain to teens the rewards they can earn from taking care of their tasks, but also let them know what to expect if they ignore responsibilities.
Consequences may be as simple as missing out on a fun activity because chores still need to be done. More significant consequences like an earlier curfew, less screen time, or taking their phone away altogether are options for parents to consider.
Motivate your kids to do chores with GoHenry
If you decide to pay your teens to do chores, GoHenry is here to help. With a GoHenry account, you can pay your teens when they mark their tasks complete, and they can use their GoHenry prepaid debit card to make purchases online, in-store, or withdraw cash. While it's a great way to help motivate teens to complete their chores, it also gives them a sense of financial independence and teaches them about managing their money. What's more, thanks to the parental controls on the account, you can set limits and rules as to how much your teen spends and where they spend it.