How do you get a teenager to clean up? Teenager chores are different from kid’s housework, right? Or if a teenager’s dirty room doesn’t bother the teen, should it bother you?
We Ask a House Cleaner about cleaning motivation and cleaning hacks for teenager jobs and “to do’s”.
Angela Brown says kids cleaning the house is a good idea and trains them to keep up a dirty room. Kids clean when there is a rewards system. And there should be a kid cleaning routine that easy for them to do.
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Listen: How to Get a Teenager to Clean Up
Watch: How to Get a Teenager to Clean Up
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.
Question: How to Get a Teenager to Clean Up
How do you get a teenager to clean their messy room? Excellent question and we’re going to talk about that today. Our question comes from somebody who watched a show that we did the other day, on how to get kids to clean. Now, in this show we did the other day, there was an important piece of information that we shared with you. It was on “my data versus your data.”
My Data vs. Your Data – To Get Your Teenager to Clean Up
It doesn’t matter how old the kid is. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a teenager or a college kid, or your spouse. When you ask a question to anyone, for any reason, what you’re asking for is, “give me your data. ”
Because people will argue with your data, but they will never with their own. When you’re trying to inspire a teenager or young adult, to clean their room, ask them, what does a clean room look like to you? And have them give you their data.
Once they give you their data, now you have some information to go from. Once you have the data on what they think a clean room is, you can either agree to that, or you can add on to their info.
Confirm That You’re Both on The Same Page
Now, together, you can come up with what a clean room is. What happens to the clothes, the bed, books, and electronics? If there are any extras added to the expectations, now is the time to get that out in the open.
Okay, once you’ve had that conversation, you have to agree as a team what inspires the teenager to action. For a child, we recommended blue ribbons. (You’ve met all their physical needs and they want for nothing.)
A teenager wants freedom. They want more electronics, keys to the car, gas for the car. Money to hang out with friends, a later curfew etc.
There are a bunch of other things that a young adult or a teenager needs, that maybe a young child does not need.
Reward in Redeemable Points
Instead of cash, give points.
I know some families give allowances for their kids for chores, but you can only buy stuff with allowance cash.
With rewards, they can buy a later curfew or buy their way of a grounding purgatory. The points can also have a cash value. As in each point is worth so many dollars, so you might say 10 points equals $1. I’m using this in U.S. terms. It’s going to be different from euros or peso’s, or pounds, or whatever your currency is.
Once your points system is in place, you place a value on everything. If you make your bed, that is worth five points. If you clean up the vanity around where you brush your teeth, that is worth five points. When you empty the trash and you take it out to the curb on trash day, that is worth five points. You can keep a running tally of earned points.
You Can Punish and Reward Your Teenager with Points
Now, what happens is, if they misbehave. If they skip school, if they don’t do their homework, or whatever it is, then they lose points. Your teenager can earn points and they can have points taken away.
You know how kids are always asking “Can I buy this? Can I buy that?”
“Let’s see how many points you have.” If they have the points, and you approve of the purchase then bam! Everyone wins.
Let Your Teenager Earn Their Keep
Now, a lot of parents will just give their kids money. They give their kids new shoes, and smartphones, and games, and electronics, and PlayStations, and all these things. But what happens is, the kids don’t put any value on them because they didn’t earn it. They don’t take care of their stuff.
They are careless and they drop the phones in the toilet, and they smash the PlayStations. Or they throw things at the computer screens and you have to replace the whole computer, or you have to replace the screen.
Or, they lose the remote control on the TV, whatever. They don’t take care of stuff because there’s no value in it. But when everything has a value, and there are points, kids start tracking points and taking care of their things.
Watch Your Teenager Grow Up Before Your Eyes
You’ll notice that your kids not only keep a cleaner space, but they start taking care of the things that they have. If they had to buy a shirt for 250 points, it’s unlikely it’s going to sit there on the floor where it gets stepped on.
That shirt has value and so they hang it up when they’re done with it. And they make sure that it goes in the wash when it’s dirty.
Because they’ve invested in it, they have an investment in the outcome. And you create value for the things they earn.
Soon your environment is about earning, not entitlement. As adults, we don’t get stuff free. We have to work for and earn it. Your kids do too.
Have a Deadline for Housework – Credit Points for Work Done.
The point system only works when you give the points. Set a time for your teen to tidy their room. At the end of the chores, time do an inspection and reward points. The points are the immediate reward.
All clothes picked up equals 5 points, bed made equals 5 points, shower cleaned equals 10 points and so on.
Cleaning up after themselves a teenager can rack up points in a hurry.
Make it easy to earn and redeem points.
You’re Going to Give Your Kids Stuff Anyways
Now, the truth is, you’re going to give your kid anyway because you love your kid and you provide for them. Teach your child from a young age that everything has a price associated with it. Then as the child gets older and they want to buy bigger things, they can with points.
Because the day will come when they’re like,
“Hey, mom, dad, I’m old enough to drive a car, can you buy me a car?” “I don’t know, let’s see how many points you have.”
“Oh, my goodness, how many points? You mean I got to earn the car, too?”
Teach Them to Save For Big Purchases
Eight or ten years old is not too young to start saving points towards their first vehicle or college education. Now, I promise you this, if your teenager has to buy their own car, they’re going to take care of it. They’re not going to let people eat in it, they’re not going to get all kinds of junk in it. They’re going to vacuum it out, they’re going to take it down to the carwash. They will care for the vehicle because they had to pay for it.
The same goes for their college education. Instead of you just giving it to them and letting them blow away their college years partying they will value the experience. These are points that they earned and as you put those points towards something of value, it’s a whole different ballgame.
All right. That my friend is how you teach a teenager or a young adult, how to clean up after themselves. You create a rewards system based on points that are redeemable for things of value to that person.
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Resources For This Episode
Dads and Daughters: How to Inspire, Understand, and Support Your Daughter When She’s Growing Up So Fast – https://amzn.to/2qukR1P
Parenting a Teen Girl: A Crash Course on Conflict, Communication and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter – https://amzn.to/2quZfSK
No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind – https://amzn.to/2JI2P4W
Parenting Children: Learn How to be a Loving and Effective Parent : Parenting Children with Love and Empathy – https://amzn.to/2v82o0p
Conquer Negative Thinking for Teens: A Workbook to Break the Nine Thought Habits That Are Holding You Back – https://amzn.to/2HiUyWE
Power Talking – https://amzn.to/2IRcbtE
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