I have a house full of teenagers and chores that need to be completed. Since I have been a mom for 19 years, I have used an amazing amount of chore systems and chore charts. Routinely I would change systems just to keep things looking different for my kids.
Last month I realized the disservice I had established in my kids…they did what was on the chart and nothing more. They could ignore the bag of trash that blew into the yard, they did not care if the corner of the living room became overrun with clutter or if anyone around them needed help. It was not on their list.
I know…some moms would be jumping up for joy if their teens did the chores they were asked. This is so much more than chores…this is teaching my kids to notice what needs to be done, prioritizing the chores, and serving others.
My kids have become accustomed to mom writing a list and mom deciding what needs to be done. I called a family meeting and explained there was a new cleaning system effective immediately.
New System for Teenagers and Chores:
- There are no more chore charts or lists coming from mom.
- Teenagers must decide what 3 things they will clean each day.
- On Friday a written list of what was accomplished each day must be submitted to mom.
- A fun reward will be given to those who have done their tasks.
- Failure to complete daily chores results in spending time on Saturday catching-up.
Of course 1,000 questions were launched at me…my teenages thought I had finally gone crazy.
I did state that personal laundry and dishes did not count. These already had systems in place and needed to be done regularly. Otherwise a fight would break out on Friday morning with 5 people trying to use the washing machine.
The lawyer of the group immediately wanted to know if he could do the same 3 chores each day. No, some chores only need to be done weekly, your list should reflect that.
What if I can not find 3 things to do? I would encourage you to ask mom, dad, or a sibling if they need help. Helping counts as a chore.
What if I forget to do my 3 chores? Ideally 3 a day is best, but I know there will be times when things need to be adjusted. I need 15 completed by Friday, but I warn you trying to complete 15 on Friday might be overwhelming.
Things I have noticed with my teenagers and chores after one week of new system:
- My teens began tackling jobs I would never have assigned them. I came in one morning and my son had emptied the tupperware cabinet and was matching up lids with containers.
- I invented the saying, when in doubt, look around and find something extra to do. One of my sons wanted to discuss if each item on his list counted and could something be counted twice. If this counted twice then he was done for the day. He really wanted a list of acceptable chores and I wanted him to decide what was important. We are working toward him being confident in his choices.
- My youngest son with Aspergers has learned to ask his siblings if he can help them. Bonus: he is learning to work with others which is a bigger accomplishment for him.
- My daughter hung my clothes on the line and has asked me for help on a regular occasion.
Now what to do with the time I spent on creating and maintaining chore charts.
Do you have any great tips on helping teens complete chores?