Motivating Your Teen to Help Tidy and Clean Around the House

Encouraging your teenager to help with cleaning and chores can feel like pulling teeth, especially if you haven’t expected them to help before.

Looking for other ways to motivate teens? Check out how to motivate a teenager.

When you factor in your teenager’s growing independence and defiant nature, it might even feel downright impossible. Luckily, there is hope and you can teach your teenager how to contribute to the household chores.

Chores are important for teaching your teenager responsibility and how to co-exist with roommates or a significant other, so it’s important you stand your ground. However, you can make it easier on yourself and your teenager by reducing the amount of nagging and following these simple tips.

How to Get Teenagers to Help Clean Around the House

See also: House rules for teenagers.

1. Be a Good Example 

You can’t expect your teenager to help with chores if you haven’t been the best at keeping up with them yourself. Ideally, you would be teaching your children through example at a young age, but it’s never too late to start. If you want your teenager to keep their room clean or rinse their dishes after eating, then you need to ensure that you are doing the same.

2. Set Expectations 

Instead of telling your teenager a vague command like “clean your room” try making an easy to understand list that outlines each step:

  • Put dirty clothes in hamper
  • Vacuum floor
  • Move dirty dishes to the kitchen  
  • Make your bed

When you outline each step like this, messy projects are less overwhelming, and your teenager will know exactly what you want them to do.

It can be a lot easier to find motivation when there’s a clear list of what needs to be done, instead of having to think about the tasks in a more abstract way. It really depends on the personality of your teen, though.

 3. Give Them the Tools They Need

Having quality cleaning tools handy can help mitigate a lot of the resistance to cleaning. If you have a giant, heavy, difficult-to-use vacuum with a tattered old cord it creates a lot of resistance for vacuuming, for instance.

On the other hand, if you’ve got the best Shark vacuum sitting in your closet, it’s just a matter of them grabbing it and getting to work.

The same goes for cleaning supplies, and whatever other tools or equipment are necessary to get the task done.

The better job you do of reducing friction and obstacles between your teen and them helping you clean up around the house, the more you’ll find them helping out without you needing to nag them or remind them.

If they can grab a vacuum and get to work and it takes 5 seconds to get started, instead of 5 minutes, they’ll vacuum a lot more often.

4. Work with your teenager 

A father and his two teens work together to clean the garage.

Instead of telling your teenager what to do or when to do it, come up with a plan together.

For example, if your teenager doesn’t mind vacuuming but they hate washing dishes, make vacuuming their weekly job. If telling them when to have the cleaning done doesn’t work, try telling them they can get it done when they want but they can’t use their phone or other privileges until it’s been completed.

This will help your teenager with learning self-discipline and give them a sense of control over the task. 

5. Use logical consequences 

You might remember logical consequences (instead of “punishments“) from when your teenager was younger, but they are just as effective for older people, too!

To avoid acting out of frustration, decide on a few logical consequences before talking to your teenager.

Some logical consequences that could work for a teenager who doesn’t want to help clean are: taking their phone, revoking car privileges, or setting earlier curfews.

Final Thoughts on Getting Your Teenager to Help You Clean

So, when it’s time to clean up around the home, make sure you’re not going at it alone. Enlist the help of others living in your home so they can learn about responsibility, helping out, and once they’ve had to help clean up, they’ll understanding picking up after themselves right or just making less of a mess to start with.

Keeping a clean home is one of the more important life skills for teens.

It can take time to break habits that have been set for years, but there’s no better time to start working towards it than right now. It’s okay to go with incremental changes too, add a chore here and there until it becomes a new habit. You got this.

Sara Dylan

Author Information

Sara Dylan is passionate about researching and writing interesting articles to help people. Sara is a prolific writer at, and enjoys a nice cup of tea as much as the next person.