Great Chore Chart Ideas for Your Teens

Chore charts can inspire teens to get their chores done.
Hinterhaus Productions/Taxi/Getty Images

Whether it's your teen's turn to empty the dishwasher or you want her to clean the garage, getting your teen to do chores can be a daunting task. One of the best ways to get your teen motivated to do chores is by using a chore chart.

Many chore charts on the market are geared toward younger children. And you certainly don't want your 15-year-old to think she's being treated like a baby​ — that could backfire and cause her to become less responsible. Create your own teenage-approved chore chart. By doing so, you'll be giving your teen more responsibility and you'll spend less time battling over chores.

Here are a few different types of chore charts that can be effective with teens:

Daily Chore Chart

Create a list of all the chores you expect your teen to complete each day. Pick up his room, clean the bathroom, and clear the table, might be a few things on the list.

Then, across the top of the page, create a column for each day of the week. Tell him to check off each chore when it's complete. Once his chores are done for the day, allow him to have privileges, like time on his electronics.

You don't have to pay your teen an allowance for every chore he completes. Instead, some chores should be part of being a responsible family member. 

Token Economy System

A token economy system is a point system that allows your teen to earn points (or tokens) that can be exchanged for privileges. Create a list of chores you'd like your teen to complete, either daily chores, like cleaning up the kitchen, or weekly chores, like mowing the lawn. Assign a point value for each chore.

While a simple chore like clearing the table might only be worth 1 point, a bigger chore like cleaning the garage could be worth 10 points. Hang the list of chores and their assigned values in a prominent location. Create a reward menu as well. Rewards could be as simple as 30 minutes to play video games or they could be as big as going to an amusement park. Assign a point value to each reward.

Then, let your teen earn points and leave it up to him to decide when to exchange those points for a reward. Perhaps he'll pick a small reward every day. Or maybe he'll save up his points for a bigger reward several months down the road. You don't have to let him earn expensive or extravagant rewards. Instead, you can make the rewards everyday privileges that he has anyway. 

Chore Charts for Multiple Kids

Chore charts for multiple kids can become a little more complicated. You might find it's best to give everyone a separate chart with different rewards or consequences versus trying to put every child's name on the same chart.

This is especially true if you have big age differences between your children. A 5-year-old and a 15-year-old should have very different expectations and chores.

But, if you have teens who can handle a similar workload, a combined chart may work well. You might make a monthly chart that assigns one child to clean the kitchen while the other one cleans the bathroom. Then, the following month, they swap responsibilities. You might find it also works to swap out the chores every other day or once a week. Just make sure one teen doesn't end up doing twice as much if the other one isn't doing his chores.

Make Your Teen Responsible

The point of a chore chart should be to reduce the arguments over chores. It should also give your teen a little more freedom to choose when to do his chores.

Resist the urge to nag him. Instead, make his privileges contingent on getting his work done. If he doesn't do the work, don't give him his privileges. Hopefully, he'll learn to behave more responsibly next time. 

By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.