Here's a guideline we love. "Your teen is pretty much capable of doing any of the chores you do," says Marilee Sprenger, MEd, a professor at Aurora University in Illinois who studies brain development and memory. "The best way to motivate a child this age is to make him feel in control. Set up a chore system together, for example, or offer choices." You probably can't get away without giving out allowance at this point, but make sure your teen uses her moolah wisely. Rather than tying the cash to specific chores, most experts agree that it's better to link payday to their overall contribution and responsibility so they won't expect a bonus every single time they pitch in.
- Cleaning crew. Lighten your housekeeping load by giving your teen a weekly gig -- whether it's mopping, dusting, or vacuuming.
- Kiss clutter goodbye. No, it's not okay for your kid's room to look like a hurricane tore through it. Establish a system for regular straightening up and make sure he sticks to it.
- Get cooking. Show your child how to make a few easy dishes (stir-fry, tacos, etc.) and let her be in charge of family dinners once or twice a month.
- Launder up. Teach your teen to wash his own clothes now -- even if he grumbles the whole way through. He'll be eternally grateful when he's on his own in college.
- Be the family gofer. Just a hunch, but we bet your Miss Independent will have no problem running errands (to grab the dry cleaning, etc.) as long as she gets to flex her newly licensed driving muscles.
- Strike while the iron's hot. If your mini fashionista demands perfectly pressed attire, show her how to iron -- and let her give your wardrobe a smoothing too.
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