Chores During the Teenage Years


IMG_4085The topic is chores again…this time with the focus on the teenage years. If your kids are used to doing chores, this isn’t that big of a deal. (See my post on chores during the younger years here.) In our household, the kids were used to the “chore wheel”, but as they grew a little older, it lost its appeal. Maybe they were just tired of it, or it just seemed too juvenile, but it stopped being effective. But when our kids entered the middle and high school years, things were more intense. They had sports practices every afternoon and when combined with other activities and homework, the chores just didn’t seem to get done. However, the desire for additional spending money was stronger than ever. I hated the thought of just doling out cash, and wanted the kids to have to work for it.

So Steve and I came up with a matrix of chores (still very similar to those on the original chore wheel) and assigned a dollar value to each chore and printed this out each week. The kids would have to complete the chore in order to get paid, and they couldn’t claim chores in advance. Each day, they would initial the “X” when the chore was complete, and at the end of the week, we would pay them based on the work done. If no one claimed a chore that needed to be done, we assigned it and no money was paid, making it in the best interest of the kids to proactively get the chores done. Below is a typical chore “matrix”.

Chore Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Recycling $1 X   X X   X X
Clean Cat boxes $2       X      
Scoop Cat box $1   X         X
Empty all trash cans $1 X     X      
Scoop Poop $3       X      
Mop Floor $2     X        
Clean area at bench $1   X       X  
Sweep laundry room and hallway$1   X       X  
Clean powder room $1       X      
Vacuum upstairs $2           X  
Shovel snow              
Empty dishwasher $1 X   X X   X  
Water garden              

At this point in our family life, we no longer use the matrix. I’m not quite sure what happened, but we just didn’t need the structure any more. Chores just seem to get done, or we’ll simply say “hey, recycling should go out” and it happens. Once Steve made the comment that he had cooked dinner and should not have to clean, the kids took over that chore as well. We don’t live a fairy tale life, but everyone does pitch in and that makes running a household a bit easier. Now if they could just start paying the mortgage…


About karenshuman

I am a Mom of four teenagers, with a career, a busy household to manage, and far too many volunteer commitments. After hearing several times, “you should write a book about parenting”, I decided to give blogging a shot. My husband alternates between soul mate, Super Dad, and hired help (sometimes switching roles on an hourly basis). He also has his own career to manage. Between us, we’ve discovered some things that have worked well (and many that haven’t) in raising our children and running our household. We invite you to share your ideas as well.

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