How to Motivate Teenagers to Do Chores

By Alicia Bodine
Work with your teen to make their chores feel equitable.
Work with your teen to make their chores feel equitable.

Although some teenagers gladly accept responsibility, recognizing that it will help them become more adult, many will do anything to get out of it. Parents need to get more creative with the latter group of teenagers if they want to get help with household chores. Instead of resorting to a shouting match that will get you nowhere, motivate your teen to get involved in cleaning and organizing the house through positive reinforcement and by sharing the workload.

Hold a family meeting to discuss the chores that need to be completed. Give your teenager a chance to be heard. Try to implement some of her ideas, such as taking turns with the dishes or only having to straighten up her room once or twice per week instead of daily. This gives your teenager a sense of control, which can motivate her to complete the tasks that were agreed upon. She'll also realize that everyone else in the family is responsible for some of the chores, not just her.

Place a list of the chores and who is responsible for each chore somewhere the entire family can see it. The refrigerator is a good place. This will serve as a reminder for your teenager every time he walks by it, reducing the chance that he will forget to complete his chores.

Work alongside your teenager when possible. Raking leaves or washing and drying dishes with your teenager is an excellent motivator. The chore gets accomplished in half the time and your teenager isn't left feeling alone. Plus, you get to spend quality time together.

Complete your own set of chores in a timely manner. Teenagers need to see their parents set a good example, showing that it's important for everyone in the family to contribute. There is no motivation for a teen to keep up with chores if his parents aren't.

Compliment and praise your teenager for the chores that she did well. Don't harp on the chores that were completed half-heartedly. Positive reinforcement is far more motivating to a teenager than being constantly reminded of what she is doing wrong. Once she sees you are pleased with her work, she'll be more likely to carry this over into the rest of her chores.

Require the teenager to pay a younger sibling to complete any chores that were neglected by the teenager. After the teenager has lost a few precious dollars, he may gain enough motivation to make sure his chores are done.


Always keep your teen's schedule in mind when assigning chores. Don't give her more chores than she can reasonably complete. Some teenagers are trying to juggle school, a part-time job and sports or other extra-curricular activities, which makes it difficult to find time to take on a great deal of home duties.


Avoid bribing your teen to do his chores with money. It can backfire and he may spend more time negotiating the price rather than completing his chores. It is often more helpful to present chores as being his contribution as part of the family.

About the Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for six years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Associated Content and WiseGeek. Bodine is also the current cooking guru for LifeTips. She has received awards for being a top content producer.