What types of chores should your teen be responsible for?

Which chores your teen should be responsible for depends on your family's circumstances. If you live on a farm, you may want your teen to be in charge of gathering eggs or milking the cow. If you have a number of younger children and you work evenings, your number one priority might be that your teenager babysits for the little ones and puts them to bed. Although you can be pleasant and flexible about assigning chores, realize that as much as your teens are making your life easier when they help out, you're doing them a favor as they increase their self-esteem, earn a sense of accomplishment, learn a strong work ethic, and realize tangibly that they're a part of the family and their contribution really matters.

When introducing your teenagers to a new chore, demonstrate how it's down, explain why you want it done a particular way (why dark colors and light colors have to be washed separately), show where all the supplies for the job are kept, and don't forget to praise them for a job well-done and to tell them how much you appreciate their help.


Aside from keeping their own room clean, teens can be responsible to straighten up the family room once a week, cook dinner once a week, fold laundry and put each person's pile in his or her room, rake leaves, mow grass, shovel snow, wash dishes, or do the weekly grocery shopping. No, you don't have to make them do ALL of these chores. Take your teen's preferences into account. It could be that your teen would love to paint the interior walls of the house, vacuum, trim the hedges, or unclog sinks. While your teen may have fun doing once-in-a-while chores, like setting up for a party or decorating the door for a holiday, know that it's the everyday chores that build the most responsibility.