This Might Be the Most Brilliant Hack for Getting Your Teen to Do Chores

All it takes is one simple task.

teen girl putting laundry in basket

Photo by Getty Images

Photo by Getty Images

Parenting teens takes finesse. It's been that way since the beginning of time and I believe it always will be.

There's scientific proof teens' brains are wired differently—they aren't able to see very far outside of themselves, and I clearly remember being that way as a teen especially when it came doing chores.

My mother would leave a list for my sisters and me to complete as soon as we got home from school and she made it clear we weren't to watch television or talk on the phone until the duties were complete.

Of course, we plopped down in front of MTV slurping ramen noodles and chocolate milk, then called all our friends anyway.

About 20 minutes before my mom’s scheduled arrival home, we would scurry around and get everything done.

These days, things have changed a quite a bit—technology is a huge distraction that invites new temptations for our teens to accept over their tedious chores and homework.

Who wants to do dishes or clean their room when they can FaceTime, Snapchat, or get lost for an hour checking out everyone's Instagram accounts?

But, parents know how to play so everyone wins. One parent posted a brilliant way they get their kids to conform. In exchange for doing laundry, the dishes, vacuuming, and taking out the trash, the kids get the Wi-Fi password. Now, if that’s not insurance to get your kids to get their jobs done in a timely matter, I don’t know what is.

Another dad had a brilliant idea about having his child complete chores, then send him a picture for proof, then he would tell them where the power cord for the Xbox was hidden. He wrote:

"Unload and reload the dishwasher. The take a pic of it. Then walk the dog and take a pic of it. Then send me both pictures and I'll tell you where the power cord for your Xbox is."

But here's the thing, they are teenagers; they still need a motivator to get off their butt and get things done. I literally don't know one person who said they jumped up and always did homework or chores willingly when they were younger.

I have three (pretty) good teens who help put around the house daily. There are times when they just do it, but that's rare.

It's always a little bit of a battle, and I've been assigning them chores since they were three.

Like most people they hate picking up dog messes, folding laundry, vacuuming, and taking out the trash.

But they do it because they know it's expected and there will be consequences if they don't. I find taking their phones away for the rest of the day if they don't do what I've asked works beautifully, although I like the idea of changing the Wi-Fi password, too.

One mother told us she made a rule as soon as her kids were old enough to get devices—they were allowed to be on them after dinner only if their homework and chores were done.

"They aren't allowed any second chances. If I have to remind them to complete everything even once, they don't get screen time," she said.

Another parent said she allows her kids to decompress after school for an hour by watching television or going on the computer. “But after that, they need to get to work and help out around the house or they don't get it the following day," she said.

Many of us are working and aren't around to see if our kids are doing their chores and don't want to micromanage them that much. Such is the case for a mom of two teenagers who said, “if I come home and the house is a mess and it appears they haven't done anything, they know they are going to lose privileges—that includes their phones and time hanging out with friends."

Parenting has evolved over the decades and will continue to do so. While some think changing the password, or having our kids send selfies of themselves while scrubbing a toilet is ludicrous, there is no doubt it works.

Instead of looking at it like I am bribing my kids, I believe it's showing them there are consequences if they don't do what is expected of them the same way there are consequences at school, or a job, for not completing work.

Do you change your Wi-Fi password or instruct your kids to snap pictures of themselves cleaning up before you tell them where power cords are? Or, do you have another brilliant way to get your teens to get work done?