While many teens complain of boredom, most of us adults would love to be bored a little more! Even the typical 2-parent family has Mom and Dad both working and saying that they’re too busy to create activities to keep their teens busy. What they fail to see, as they buzz around the house, tripping over their kids’ clothes and gadgets, trying not to disrupt them in their pointless diversion-of-the-moment, is that there’s an able-bodied almost-adult capable of doing most (if not all) the household chores that Mom and Dad are trying to cram in to their already hectic schedules.
If this issue resonates with the current rhythm of your home, here are a few suggestions to help rejuvenate your family life, lessen your load, and relieve your teen of boredom. As an extra bonus, they’ll actually help prepare your teen for adult life:
1. Give them real responsibilities, and equip them to fulfill their duties.
This is about more than filling time, but about teaching responsibility and giving them the satisfaction of a job well done. You may want to consider your child’s strengths and weaknesses before determining major projects, but why not give your kids the chance to plan a family trip, stain the deck or plan, shop for, and prepare a certain number of meals per month? If that large of a job seems a little too ambitious at first, start with a family fun night, a single meal, or a small repair project. Give them a budget to work with and whatever other parameters that need to be observed. The results may surprise you—in a good way!
2. Consider matching your kids’ savings.
In order to help motivate your kids to save money instead of letting every spare dime burn a hole in their pocket, you could consider matching every dollar they put in savings, with a cap of whatever you can afford. Helping your teen develop a potential budget and looking at the power of compound interest may work to help motivate them to save more, as well. Whether your teen has a regular job, picks up random babysitting or lawn-mowing gigs, or has just a weekly allowance to work with, you can tailor this idea to make sense with your family finances.
3. If you have younger children, have a plan for giving them responsibilities, now.
You probably already know this, but if you’re giving your teen chores around the house, for the first time, you’ll likely be met with some resistance. By contrast, when you start “letting them help” as toddlers, they’re excited to be part of things, and as they mature and can be trusted with greater tasks, they rise to the challenge, naturally.
By learning that work is simply part of life, they’ll be less likely to balk at the increased work load they have as teens, or once they’re on their own. This age-specific chore chart can help get you started.