Chores List for Older Kids and Teens

Teen girl washing dishes while her father dries

Jupiterimages / Photolibrary / Getty Images

It can be hard to know what chores to give your teen. It can be even harder to get your teen to actually do the chores you assign. But performing household chores teaches your teen responsibility. It can also help him become a good citizen. Remember, that you're raising a teen who will likely go on to live with a roommate or romantic partner someday. And you don't want your child to be a slob that no one can stand to live with.

Assign Chores and Motivate Your Teen to Do Them

Teens are capable of doing practically any chore that adults can do. But, they need direction and guidance as they learn how to do household chores appropriately.

Guidance shouldn't be about nagging, however. Show your teen how to do a specific chore and then monitor her work to ensure she can do it independently.

If your teen isn't cleaning the bathroom in a sanitary manner, or if his lawn mowing technique leaves a lot to be desired, consider it a teachable moment. Show your teen the appropriate way to do things and make your expectations clear.

Use chores as a way to teach your teen about adult life. Pay your teen an allowance for doing certain chores or link chores to specific privileges. Make it clear that hard work leads to rewards, just like hard work at a future job will lead to a paycheck.

Give your teen a list of chores. Then, leave it up to him to decide when to get it done. If he doesn't do the work by Friday (or the end of the day), don't give him any money.

Or, use Grandma's Rule of Discipline, which ties a task to a specific incentive or privilege. Tell him he can spend time with friends as soon as his chores are done. If he's motivated to see his friends, he'll work hard to get his chores done fast.

Safety Issues to Consider When Assigning Chores

Most teens are mature enough to do chores with little to no supervision. But, every teen is different so carefully consider your teen's skill level before creating your teen's chore list.

Household chemicals, for example, can be a hazard. Talk to your teen about the importance of not combining chemicals and discuss ventilation issues. Also, discuss what to do if your teen accidentally gets a chemical in her eyes.

Before allowing your teen to use the stove, lawnmower, weed whacker, power tools, or other appliances, go over safety issues. Supervise your teen at first before you allow him to use those items on his own and make sure he practices safety precautions. 

Make sure your teen understands not to use frayed cords when plugging items in. Also, discuss safety issues with extension cords, such as not using a cord if it gets wet.

Chores That Teach Teens to Care for Their Belongings

Teach your teen to keep his personal space clean. That may involve cleaning his bedroom and keeping his items organized when they're in common areas of the house. These chores should be things that will help your teen recognize the importance of taking care of his items. Here are some chores that all teens should do:

  • Make bed
  • Put clothes away
  • Change sheets
  • Organize closet
  • Sweep or vacuum bedroom
  • Put items where they belong

Chores That Teach Responsibility

While all chores instill responsibility, creating a chore list that includes caring for other people, pets, or plants, gives your teen a chance to be in charge. These types of chores show you trust your teen that you expect her to do a good job because there's someone or something depending on her. Consider including a few of these items on your teen's chore list:

  • Water plants
  • Feed the pet
  • Walk the pet or clean litter
  • Wash the pet or pet’s things
  • Babysit younger siblings
  • Make lunch for siblings
  • Brush the pets outside to reduce shedding indoors

Chores That Help Teens Be Good Citizens

Give your teen a variety of chores. You might consider having siblings swap duties from month to month or week to week just to make sure everyone has practice doing each chore. Include some of these chores that involve caring for common areas in the home because they will teach your teen to be a good citizen:

  • Vacuum living room, hallways, bedrooms, and stairs
  • Sweep kitchen and bathroom floors
  • Dust living room, bedrooms, and office space
  • Vacuum the furniture
  • Straighten the living room
  • Shampoo carpets
  • Organize drawers
  • Take care of items for recycling
  • Take the trash out to the street for pick up
  • Cook dinner (leave instructions)
  • Wash and dry laundry
  • Clean the kitchen counters
  • Empty the dishwasher or wash dishes
  • Clean the bathroom sink, mirror, and toilet
  • Wash windows
  • Clean refrigerator shelves and door; inside and out
  • Mop floors
  • Organize the food in the pantry
  • Sanitize surfaces
  • Organize the garage
  • Organize bookshelves

Spring and Summer Chores List

Warmer weather may mean more opportunities to do outdoor chores. And summer vacation is a great time to assign more chores. Here are some summer chore list ideas:

  • Mow the lawn
  • Trim the bushes
  • Help with landscaping projects, like spreading mulch or building a rock wall
  • Weed the garden
  • Wash the car
  • Vacuum the car
  • Clean outdoor furniture
  • Get outdoor items out of storage and ready for use
  • Gather unwanted items to donate or sell at a yard sale
  • Wash outdoor items, like boats, ATVs, campers, or other outdoor items

Fall Chores List

During the fall months, you may need certain outdoor chores done, especially yard work. Here are some fall chores you may want to assign to teens:

  • Rake the lawn
  • Blow the leaves off the driveway
  • Help clean the gutters
  • Clean out the garden
  • Clean outdoor items and help store them for winter

Winter Chores List

If you live in a cold climate, there's a good chance you'll need help with snow removal. Here are some cold-weather chores you might add to your teen's chore list:

  • Shovel snow
  • Clean snow off of the car

Encourage a Good Work Ethic

Work with your teen on identifying a regular chore schedule. Give your teen daily chores, as well as bigger chores to do on the weekends or during school vacations.

Use chores as a way to help your teen become more responsible, but make sure your teen doesn't take on too many chores. Find a healthy balance that will give your child plenty of time to do homework and have some fun, while also teaching valuable life skills.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Chores and Responsibility. American Academy of Pediatrics. Updated November 21, 2015.

Additional Reading