My parents made me do a lot of chores as a kid. They probably didn’t think it was a lot, but looking back, it was quite a bit more than other kids my age. I cut the grass, vacuumed and dusted the house, raked the yard, stacked the wood, shoveled the snow, picked up all the millions of rotten apples, peaches and pears off their acre yard, pulled weeds (with a freaking butter knife from all the cracks in their HUGE patio) and cleaned the pool. I also had to help with the millions of never ending home improvement jobs my parents were constantly doing. My parents are by far the hardest working people I have ever met, to them, I probably had it really easy!
I have had hundreds of comments from people who ask “How can I get my teenagers to help around the house. They do nothing at all!” Here is the question I want to ask in response: “Why did you wait until they were teenagers to start giving them chores?” I’m not saying that kids need to spend an hour a night helping out, but an hour a week is not that much to ask. In comparison to my parents, I am extremely lazy, but I do find I have a stronger work ethic than many other people I know. I am not afraid to work hard, get my hands dirty or give up my fun time when their is work to be done. I completely owe my work ethic to my parents. All of the chores I had to do as a kid were like training for the millions of chores I have to do as a grown up!
I personally know of a few people my age who never had to do chores at all growing up. Now that they are adults themselves, it’s like a shock to their system. Housework? Yard work? Paying bills? Working full time? WTF? Being a grown up sucks! Gone is the endless free time to spend watching television or having fun… especially if you are a new parent. And the people who are reluctant to give up their childhood freedom are the ones who just can’t seem to get on top of things. I don’t want my kids to suffer from grown up shock!
So, I’m going to do them the biggest favour I can and make them pitch in around the house! I’m not going all Nazi like my parents, instead I decided on a simple plan. They each have to do one weekly chore for each year of age. My five year old has five chores and my three year old had three chores. I also decided to pay them to do these chores, just so I can also help them learn some money management skills.
What is not on their chore lists is picking up their own stuff. They still have to clean their rooms, help put away their laundry and pick up their toys. I don’t think I should pay my kids to look after their own belongings!
So, my advice on how to get teenagers to help out around the house is to start them young. Give your kids some weekly chores! Not only will it help you out but it will also teach them responsibility and help prepare them for the big bad world of being a grown up! Here are my girls weekly Chore Lists! Abby-Chore-List Izzy-Chore-List