Household chores for pre-teens and teens at home

Preteen cornerHousehold chores are probably one of the most debated household issues. As your kids grow up from preteens into teenagers, a lot of conflict may arise from misunderstandings about what the responsibilities at home are. Teens are the masters of loopholes, so it’s very important to state your rules clearly as soon as you can – train them as preteens before those teen years kick in. So here are some tips to help you out:

1. Give them the rules. Spell them out and write them down. Make a chart that you put up on the fridge, or somewhere in a visible place in the house. Just like a well-organised flat, give everyone responsibilities they can stick to and execute to their abilities. It’s also good because when something isn’t done, you can refer back to this chart.

2. Communicate the rules

Make sure the rules are clear. If the task is to do the dishes, spell out that the task also involves, for example, not only stacking the dishwasher, but also unloading it. Again, if you don’t make the rules clear, it’s easy for them to stray away from responsibility.

3. Keep calm

Don’t get wound up just because your teen hasn’t vacuumed by 6pm on their “chores day.” Some teens are great with their time management and are probably planning to do this before midnight strikes. However, if from experience you know that chores may be avoided by your teen, give them a gentle reminder. If you want to avoid conflict as much possible, perhaps on your chores chart, also give a time when the chores must be done, or at least the time they must be done by. Again, you’ll see here my theme of enforcing strict, exact rules that avoid confusion.

4. Have clear consequences

What will it mean if the chores are not done on time? Perhaps this is something you must sit down and discuss with your teen when you’re making the chores chart. The consequence must be something that will motivate them to do the chores. If taking their phone away for two hours is what you see as a consequence and you are the one to suggest it, your teen will quickly start weighing up whether it’s worth it to do the chores, and if they decide that having their phone taken away is not that big-of-a-deal, you may find lots of chores not getting done. So talk the consequences over with them, and make them substantial.

5. Lead by example

Everyone has a part to play. The beauty of the chores chart is that you can assign tasks to everyone. It does not mean you must do an equal amount of chores as your teen; in fact, I advise you do the minimal amount because, after all, you are the one paying the mortgage or rent on your home, and, it should be the teen’s responsibility to help out as much as they can. But make sure that they see that you’re doing something as well so they don’t feel you’re purely taking advantage.

About Eva-Maria
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