Summer brings lots of togetherness—which means lots of mess. How can parents motivate their kids to help with the clean-up? Here are some ideas for encouraging your tween to participate in family chores.

First Chores, Then Fun
Create a list of chores to complete each morning before a designated hour. Tell the kids that they must complete their chores before they can do anything else fun—such as watch TV, go swimming, visit a friend, etc.

Earn Screen Time
Implement a screen time payment system in which tweens earn access to their devices by doing chores. Instead of paying kids 50 cents to fold laundry, for example, offer them 20 minutes of screen time per load of towels. Emptying and re-loading the dishwasher earns another 20 minutes, and so on. The point is to offer an enticing incentive to complete the chores while also effectively managing screen time.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go
Turn chores into a friendly racing competition by setting a timer for 30 minutes. Give the kids a list of chores and challenge them to see how many they can get done before the timer goes off. The person with the most chores done wins. Or, if you prefer to reward everyone equally, then give five dollars to each child who completes her full list in 30 minutes.

Make It Family Fun
One of the best ways to teach tweens the value of chores is to demonstrate by example. Offer to help clean their room or scrub the bathtub so that chore time becomes family time. Make it a party by playing your tween’s favorite music and singing along together while you scrub. Showing the kids that chores don’t have to be a burden but can actually be fun might motivate them to grumble less and help more.

Connect Chores to God
Finally, remind your tween that good stewardship is an important aspect of Christian character, and chores demonstrate good stewardship. God provided your family with a home and everything in it; therefore, we honor Him when we care for our possessions.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23)