Chores for teens

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2012
Chores for teens
Wed, 09-12-2012 - 8:50am

For those on both this board and the high school board, this is a double post....not sure which one to post to about this!   My daughter just started 9th grade this year and is starting to complain that she has no time to relax whatsoever during the day.  She doesn't usually sit down till about 7:30-8:00.   I don't feel she's doing much beyond what the average teen does....actually a bit less, because she is not in any sports. However,  I'm starting to wonder if I should take away a chore or 2.  These are the chores she has.  She packs her lunch daily (I don't make her..she just does it).  She does her own laundryas needed, vacuums the downstairs daily (takes 5- 10 minutes and she gets paid and extra $1 a day for it), vacuums her room and vacuums and swiffers our bathroom weekly, and dusts her room about every other week.  Is this too much?  Thanks for any input.


Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Thu, 09-13-2012 - 9:17pm
No, not at all.. Chores are important part of life and so is time management and figuring out ot finish these things. Something my ds is struggling with now!!

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Fri, 09-14-2012 - 4:06pm

My views on chores are more complicated than some others' - probably overly complicated. :smileywink:

I started out thinking that kids needed to know how to dust, vacuum, clean bathrooms, wash dishes, etc. as I did growing up.  The thing is, in the 60s you didn't have cleaning products like you have today, and things were harder to clean.  And I had parents obsessed with perfect cleanliness, which meant HOURS every weekend.

What I've come to realize is that it doesn't take much to learn how to swish a toilet brush, wipe down bathrooms with a sponge or a Clorox wipe, and run a Dirt Devil over the floor.  By the time they're 15 they can do that with no prior practice.  So then the question was, what is the purpose of doing chores?

I gotta admit that *I* don't like cleaning very much, and it takes a lot of time, and that's why we have a cleaning lady once a week who spends 3 hours doing the dusting, bathrooms, kitchens, and floors.  However there are still lots of other chores to do:  *cleaning up* is a much bigger deal than *cleaning*.  It's also more important from the standpoint of living with other people, since there are 5 of us in our house.

The most important lesson for me with chores is, what is each person contributing to the happiness of the household?  If you leave your stuff all over the floors and chairs, you make life unpleasant for others, so clean up after yourself.  No one wants to see your dirty dishes lying around, so put them in the dishwasher.  No one wants to come into a bathroom littered with bits of tissue or hair or dirty clothes or toothpaste, so clean it up before you leave.

You also need to know how to feed yourself, so learning to do that in elementary school is important.  By middle school, all my kids had nailed the routines of getting up in the morning on their own, getting breakfast and lunch ready before school, cleaning up the bathroom before they leave it, making beds, bringing all their things to school, taking care of snacks after school, clearing the table after dinner, cleaning up their stuff, putting their laundry into the hamper, and so on.  Basically, how to live with others.

They also know that life gets crazy, and even though Dad does all the cooking, sometimes he's going to need some help, so when he calls you, pitch in right away.  If you're asked to go bring in groceries, take the dogs outside to work off some energy, clean up video games & movies, or anything else, there's a reason for it, so just do it and don't argue that it's not your job, because it's everyone's job.

Conversely, life gets crazy for them too.  In the summer, I have the older ones alternate cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, but during the school year, DD only has to do them two nights on the weekend.  It's much more important that she do everything else in her life than chores.  If I'm extremely busy with work, I may do very little to help out around the house because I'm too busy making money to keep the machine running, so DH does it all.  It's about picking up the slack for others and knowing they'll do it for you too when you need it.

Last point, some kids are better at organizing their time/life than others.  17yo DD is a natural whiz at it and finds it fun, 20yo DS didn't "get it" until he was 17, and 12yo DS needs help structuring his routines and staying on task after school.  DH has him work off a schedule of get home, snack, homework, 15 mins video games, practice piano, 15 mins videogames, practice cello.  He manages to get it all done before 7pm so he can watch "The Simpsons," LOL, even on days when he has an after school activity.  He's only in 7th grade, and I know it will change when he starts HS, but the point is, he manages to get a lot done with some supervision and routines.  If he didn't have those, he'd have a rough time of it.