**Updated January 21, 2022
Incorporate these chores for tweens as a great way to teach them responsibility, important life skills and take some of that housework off your plate.
This article was originally titled 5 Chores Your Tween Should be Doing. Since it really was 5 categories of chores, I recently dove back in and got more specific in each category to give you more ideas.
Want to yell less and be happier?
Then read on because tweens and teens could be doing so many chores that are on your plate.
Admit it. Chores aren’t always the most glamorous part of being a parent.
Plus, chores teach your kids about caring for themselves and the objects in their environment.
That said, chores can be a bit more difficult to tackle as your kids grow older and their interests start to take them in different directions.
But chores are chores, and they’re always going to need doing.
This means that even if your tween would rather be out playing sports or just hanging out with friends, he still needs to complete his chores.
So how do you get your tween to understand the importance of chores?
Well, it may take a little bit of time and practice to figure out the magic formula for getting chores done without putting up too much of a fight, but there are some things you can try that might just get you to your goal.
Instead of putting chores on top of your tween’s already full to-do list, make chores a family affair.
That means you’ll all be responsible for chores and chores won’t just fall on you alone.
I’m not always a fan of rewards since I do believe being part of a family means taking on part of the responsibilities.
Chores for Tweens Can Be Fun
Make chores fun and challenging by creating different contests with each other or awarding points when chores are done right.
Tricks that worked when the kids were small, might still work for tweens.
- Race against the clock or each other, as long as they’re being safe and still doing a good job, why not?
- Get everything done and get 15 extra minutes of screen time or staying up.
- For some tweens, unfortunately losing certain priviledges is what works, but should be a last resort.
Here are a couple of handy printable chore charts to get started.
Obviously, the more kids you have and the ages they are will decide which age-appropriate chores will work in your house.
You may have already started them out at an early age with easy chores around the house like making their own bed or picking up their clothes.
Having younger kids watch the older ones if possible is a great idea. Working together can teach kids that even working hard can be a good time.
But once you get those kids doing chores for you, especially if you loosen up on the controls, you won’t ever want to go back.
The best part of kids being older is that tasks can be pretty easy to break down into simple, understandable steps without taking away the valuable life lessons chores teach. Give chores a try and see if they don’t make your life easier!
“Mom, I’m bored!” will be a thing of the past.
If my tweens or teens say it I just say, “I can give you something to do you may not like.” Enough said.
They’ll gain important life skills, including negotiating skills to trade chores with others, and you’ll gain some freedom.
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Tweens Can do the Cleaning
Chores can be divided into zones like bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen. They can be split up into types like dusting or windows. Sometimes it takes trial and error to see what works for your family.
An added benefit once you get them used to cleaning, they are more likely to be better about picking up after themselves. Especially keeping their own room clean.
Toothpaste splatter on the bathroom sink and dishes with caked-on food is so much more obvious when the person cleaning has to take care of it.
Boys will realize how much they are peeing everywhere.
It’s not an overnight change and of course, they will often blame the other kids for the messes. But it does begin to turn around if you stick with it.
Making it easier for them with handy cleaning wipes or kits that can be carried from room to room helps too.
- Sweep floors
- Mop floors
- Polish woodwork
- Clean out the refrigerator
- Disinfecting remotes, door knobs, light switches, phones and computers
Teach Tweens to do the Laundry
By the time I was 13 I was doing my own laundry. That fateful day came when I complained about a pair of jeans I wanted to wear that was still in the hamper.
My mom said I know how to fix that. She showed me how to use the washer and dryer and said it was my responsibility to do my own clothes.
That wasn’t exactly the outcome my teen self was looking for but it actually worked out better for both of us
It didn’t come without mistakes, but I learned. Like the time I used bleach to get blood off my jeans. 🤦♀️
Genius I know!
Although I did “ruin” the jeans, the blood did come out. Since it was the 80’s and the style was in…well I had a hip pair of jeans, a new skill, and a lesson learned.
Even if they only do their own clothes and sheets it’s a lot less for you.
Nothing about it is particularly difficult.
Tween and teen clothes don’t usually include delicate fabrics and you can build up to that later. As long as they understand which colors run they will be just fine.
But just in case, keep these color catchers on hand.
One important thing to teach them is where the water shutoffs are just in case there is a leak. As well as to be sure to clean out the dryer lint trap.
Now if they can just put away the clothes once they’ve laundered them.
- Gather dirty clothes and towels
- Wash and dry clothes
- Fold and put away clothes
Let Tweens Learn Lawn Care
While it will still take supervision for quite a while once they begin using lawnmowers and weed trimmers there is plenty that can be done in the meantime.
We have quite a big yard. We tackle it as a family and everyone has their role.
One person handles taking care of cleaning up after the dog. Usually, the youngest two switch off.
Our oldest uses the tractor mower. The younger two follow with rakes and put the trimmings into sleds to carry off to the woods.
We utilize the same system for picking up leaves. The mower pushes it all into straight lines and then it’s the rakes and sleds again.
No one has to argue over their job or wonder who did what last time. Now I’m sure that will change once we begin letting the others use the tractor but for now, it works.
Weeding the flower beds or spreading mulch in the spring can all be done by kids too.
There’s nothing quite like relaxing on the deck in the shade while the kids tackle the lawn.
Besides….getting good at this one can help them develop a work ethic and possibly the perfect summer job if they’re ready.
Find out what happened this summer when we tried this chore experiment!
- Cleaning up after pets
- Picking up sticks or trash that has blown into the yard
- Picking vegetables or flowers
- Hand-trimming shrubs
- Cutting the lawn
- Filling birdfeeders
Cooking for Tweens is Fun
Whether for family bonding, allowing yourself time to unwind in another room, or needing to eat when you aren’t home, tweens really do need to learn how to cook.
This skill can be a huge boost to a tween’s self-esteem.
Just look at the proud look on their face when they serve you a meal.
They will quickly learn how much hard work it can be to plan and prepare meals that are tasty and please sometimes multiple, and often picky eaters.
Not to mention timing different dishes to be ready at the same time.
It makes them more appreciative of your efforts.
They don’t need to be the next Chef Ramsey unless they want to be, and you never know, but some basic skills really are so important.
Unless they want to live on Ramen noodles and frozen pizza through their twenties get them cooking.
My youngest, who’s nearly 11 now, got really into cooking when he was 7.
We watched all the Master Chef Jr. shows.
He got all sorts of baking and cooking supplies for Christmas that year.
While we did get oven mitts and knives designed for kid chefs, it ended up working out better to teach him with real tools and be extra watchful.
My daughter even filmed him pretending to host his own cooking show.
There are so many kid’s cookbooks out there. But so many are filled with recipes that don’t fit our family.
Either the ingredients are expensive, hard to find or there is just no way my kids were going to eat any of the meals.
So I came up with this idea, and it worked so much better.
Taking jumbo size index cards, I wrote down the recipes for all the meals we already eat in our house.
I made sure to include all the steps in kid-friendly terms.
I used laminating sheets and punched a hole in the top corner.
Then I used a ring to attach them all together.
With this set of recipes, my kids can make all our favorites and get the cooking skills they need.
After a bit of practice, even my 7-year-old was able to make all the recipes by himself with minimal help from me.
I still handled the raw meat until it went into the pan and cut things that were more difficult like carrots.
Likewise, emptying pots of boiling water and removing items from the wall oven are still things I do but we’re off to a great start.
Even making smoothies to cover weekday mornings or afternoon snack clears some time for you.
Use this printable weekly menu planner.
With multiple children, they can switch off between cooking and clean-up duties. This also makes them learn not to use more dishes and pans than necessary when it comes to having to wash them.
- Meal prep
- Meal planning
- Making school lunches
- Cook freezer meals for busy nights
Allow Tweens to Grow into Shopping for Groceries
While still tweens, maybe they aren’t going to the grocery store on their own yet, but they can take on a big part of it until they can drive and take it over.
Certainly, you know if your tween can handle this task responsibly. Will they get the job done or will they be fooling around?
Especially if they’re already involved in the cooking, they can meal plan based around sales flyers.
They can go through the cabinets to see what has run out.
Cutting coupons or using mobile saving apps and learning to budget is another valuable skill.
This also helps kids realize how expensive food is…especially when they’re always complaining that there’s nothing to eat!
Helping at the store by weighing produce, waiting at the deli, or skipping ahead aisles can save time.
While some people don’t like self-checkout, it can teach kids to be aware of prices, organize for better bagging efficiency and care.
Loading the car and then unloading and putting away the groceries once at home also gives you a breather.
- Meal planning
- Bag, unload and put away groceries
Still need help…
Here are more chore ideas for all ages:
- Watering plants
- Setting the table
- Pet care including feeding and walking
- Load and unload the dishwasher
- Sweeping the garage
- Taking out the garbage and recycling bins
- Washing fruits and vegetables to be ready snacks or meal-ready
- Getting out condiments, side dishes, and utensils
- Reorganize plastic container cabinet, match lids
- Sweep walkways
- Change batteries in smoke detectors
- Organize closets
- Change sheets
- Wash the car
- Clean inside of the car
- Practice conversation skills by having them make appointments for hair, doctor or take-out orders
Almost any household chore that’s on your chore list can easily make it onto their chore chart. It just takes a bit of teaching and tweens can do it.
Keep it Organized to Avoid Bickering (mostly)
You may like a printable chore chart. You can instantly download a couple of different templates I made.
One is kids just starting out with a small list. There is a different section for each child and you can list a few chores of the week.
The other chart has a whole sheet for one child with a block for daily tasks, like making the bed, as well as a space to write chores that happen on a specific day of the week.
This would work for knowing which nights someone was assigned cooking duties or putting the trash to the curb.
Both are blank as far as actual chores go so that you can fill in which ones work for your family.
Other options are blank dry erase boards or ones designed specifically for chore assignments. Some hang on the wall, some have magnets to attach to the fridge.
If you want to let tweens and teens pick and choose, you could put each chore on an index card and tack them to a corkboard or hang with magnetic clips on the refrigerator.
They can pick chores themselves.
The incentive to this will be that the “best” chores are gone first so they’ll want to pick early. The key is they have to complete them soon or they “expire” and return to the board.
How about putting each chore on a tongue depressor and kids can pick them randomly from a chore jar. Luck of the draw. You get whatever chore you get.
Or maybe you prefer a chore app. There are many options available for android and Apple. Paid and free versions. Try some out. Read reviews.
Cozi is a family organizer app that helps parents manage day-to-day family activities, track chores, and more. There is both a free and paid version of Cozi.
The free version of Cozi features a shared family and color-coded calendar, a shopping list, to-do lists for chores and other tasks, and recipe storing for weekly meal planning.
Cozi lets you create chore lists for everyone in your family with an option to print.
Other chore apps incorporate paying an allowance into the app.
I don’t receive any compensation for the following financial sites. I just think they are worthy options to consider.
Go Henry is a companion app for kids, teens, and parents. App features are tailored to your child’s age and money skills.
Tasks are set up and kids get paid when chores are complete. App account comes with a debit card to teach financial responsibility.
Money mission games teach kids how money works.
Greenlight debit card app teaches accountability by allowing you to add recurring chores or one-time chores.
Tasks are customizable to your family’s needs. Tweens can grow along with Greenlight since they can later choose direct deposit when they get that first job.
Then take the next step and learn all about investing.
What chores have you handed over to your tween? Comment below.