To get your teenager to help at home, firstly, explain the benefits, and ask your teenager to take on a job.
When you think about it, your job as a parent is to make yourself redundant. So initially explain why you want your teenager to help at home by explaining the benefits to them.

  • They’ll feel more confident and responsible.
  • They’ll feel better about themselves – because they’re contributing and sharing the workload.
  • They’ll feel more able to care for themselves when they leave home.
  • You’ll be less stressed and happier, and less likely to moan or nag.
  • And there’ll be more quality time together.

And explain that part of being in a family means everyone helps out and is part of a team.
Then show your teenager a list of all the jobs that you currently do –the shopping, cooking, cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, washing, ironing, etc. And ask which job they’d like to take on.
Cooking a family meal once a week is a good start. And another job they choose.
If they suggest getting paid, explain that this job is for love. And that if they want to do additional jobs for money, they can.

Secondly, help them to learn to do the job well.
Picture yourself as a coach. Make sure you set aside enough time, when you’re not rushed or stressed, and remember to stay friendly and positive.
There are four stages to helping your teenager do a job well.

  1. Show your teenager how to do the job, while you talk aloud about what you’re doing.
  2. Do the task together. Let them try each different step of the job until they’re happy doing everything.
  3. Let them do it on their own, while they explain to you what they’re doing and you give them lots of positive feedback and attention. And then
  4. When they feel confident, plan how they’ll do the job regularly. Tell them you don’t want to nag and remind them, and you’re sure they don’t want that either. So perhaps agree what day of the week they’ll do their job. And check how they’ll remember.

And finally, reward your teenager’s efforts with some quality time together. Show that everyone doing their bit to help means you can have more family time. Perhaps you could plan a small outing or spend some time with them. Or have a drink and a snack together or watch a family movie? Don’t spend a lot of money – this isn’t payment. It’s enjoying more quality time together because you have more time if they help around the home.

So to get your teenager to help at home, 3 things you can do are:

  1. Explain the benefits, and ask your teenager to take on a job.
  2. Help them to learn to do the job well.
  3. And reward your teenager’s efforts with some quality time together.

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child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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