6 Chores to Help Foster Your Teen’s Independence

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Chores to Help Foster Your Teen’s Independence

Transitioning from childhood to adulthood can be tricky for teens because they’re expected to seamlessly take on new scholastic and professional challenges as well as assume greater responsibilities around the house. With empathetic and steady guidance, you can foster a sense of teamwork and inspire their enthusiasm to take on some new chores. Designed to ease the burden of having to take care of everything yourself, these tasks are opportunities for your teen to gain independence and can be smoothly integrated into their daily life.

  • Cooking

Does your teen have a favorite a meal that’s a little more complex than the average dinner or a beloved takeout dish that falls on the more expensive side? Teach them how to make it! Learning how to cook or bake their favorite meal gives your teen an opportunity to eliminate any excuses for not getting their say in what the family is going to eat.

In addition to saving you time in the kitchen, teaching your teen to prepare breakfast and lunch before school means that they can assemble something they’ll look forward to in the week. If your teen is also discouraged by healthier meals, bringing them into the fold as your sous-chef provides you with an opportunity to come together and make the dish better.

The potential of good culinary skills can develop into a deep passion and is sought after by friends during college. This chore can serve as an activity that is therapeutic and rewarding in both the process and the outcome.

Benefits/Incentives:

  • Passion
  • Friendships
  • Therapeutic
  • Laundry

If your teen isn’t incentivized to do their own laundry, you might want to ask them what’ll happen in college. Not knowing if their clothes are ready for use could cost them when it comes to personal comfort, preserving friendships, or attending social events. When friends visit their dorm, it can be off-putting to have to sit next to a pile of unwashed undergarments. As a cornerstone of self-maintenance, being able to wash one’s sheets and apparel is a valuable resource that your teen will need to manage in college and can perfect while they’re at home.

It can also be a good idea to point out that expanding their closet and style is only possible if they’re able to keep their clothes from being ruined by cleaning products. Getting all the right washer settings is something you can show them how to do so they won’t risk damaging any of their belongings on their own. Your teen can help take on some more duties by helping you with household laundry such as folding towels, sheets, and pillowcases while you both partake in a weekly television show. Demonstrating that chores don’t have to be entirely laborious is another great way to integrate these new responsibilities into their lives. 

Benefits/Incentives:

  • Self sufficiency
  • Peers
  • New Angle
  • Errands

As your teen starts to get more involved with extra-curricular activities and spending time with their friends, they’re going to be out of the house more often. This is your opportunity to incentivize them to do just that with the addition of a grocery/errand list in hand. While your teen’s driving privileges increase, so too can their responsibilities to help alleviate any extra tasks that you may need to get done.

In exchange for hanging out with their friends, you can incentivize your teen to pick up some errands while on their way back home. Such tasks include picking up the week’s groceries, dropping off recycling/compost, and delivering mail. Along with being able to better navigate the neighborhood with independence, you can demonstrate to your teen that these tasks will boost their social skills in the community and help them anticipate the cost of necessary goods. 

Benefits/Incentives:

  • Independence
  • Time with Friends
  • Social Skills
  • Lawn Maintenance

With yardwork, there’s a little more at stake than just outdoor aesthetics. Your teen will have to care for a living environment that requires reciprocity and investment. The periodic attention needed to maintain your yard and/or a garden involves tasks such as using a lawnmower, watering plants, and carefully removing and disposing of weeds. Your teen can be rewarded with the visible beauty in the environment and potential crops for the kitchen.

Another reward you can offer your teen for completing these chores includes cash! You can save on the cost of a gardening service and reward your teen with something small, such as ten dollars for an afternoon’s worth of work. Your teen can develop a sense of the rewards that come with expanding their responsibilities and investing in the household. 

Benefits/Incentives:

  • Personal Reward
  • Cash Reward
  • Therapeutic
  • House Cleaning

In addition to keeping their own personal space tidy, your teen can help out by deeply cleaning one room every week. Taking the time to thoroughly clean out the garage, the bathrooms, living room, or family room is a lengthy task that requires commitment and can help develop their appreciation for all the work you put in to maintaining the house.

Collaborating in this endeavor serves as an opportunity for you to demonstrate how different cleaning techniques and products should be applied. This endeavor creates an opportunity for you to check on your teen’s work and support them in the learning process without micromanaging.

In exchange for this chore, your teen could gain some input in reorganizing each space. They might have ideas that can make each room more accessible or stylistic to them that will contribute to a sense of shared involvement. After they’ve successfully cleaned out and potentially rearranged any given room, they can have a greater sense of ownership and belonging to the area that they’ve helped create. 

Benefits/Incentives

  • Spatial Ownership
  • Stylization
  • Mentoring Siblings

If your teen has younger siblings, some of their most valuable life lessons can be garnered from stepping into a role of guidance and leadership. The act of looking after a child strengthens the virtues of empathy, patience, time-management, safety, and care. While only a phone call away, you can take the night off while administering trust and responsibly to your older children to watch their siblings.

Starting off with simple tasks such as reminding your younger children to get homework done on time, take care of their own dishes, brush their teeth, and manage their playtime, your teen will grow an appreciation for what it takes to work with patience and empathy. However, babysitting goes beyond sharing personal tricks and tips for getting through homework or sticking to a schedule. The kinship developed between siblings is a two-way learning dynamic: each sibling can develop an understanding of the other’s personality, communal investment, methods for interpersonal problem-solving, and dealing with intimate social situations. Taking responsibility for others can foster a sense of personal pride, ownership, and accountability for your teen and inspire them to consider the impact of their actions on their own future.

Benefits/Incentives

  • Accountability/Independence
  • Personal Pride
  • Familial Ownership
  • Problem-Solving
  • Social Skills