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6 Easy Steps for Motivating a Lazy Teen


Avoiding chores, putting off homework, and refusing to get out of bed in the mornings — sound familiar? Chances are you’ve got yourself a lazy teenager. Parenting is tough as it is, but dealing with a teenager brings with it some unique struggles. Here’s how to give your teen the motivational boost he or she need without nagging.

1. It’s about drive.

Josh Shipp, a motivational expert and author of The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans: How to Decode Their Behavior, Develop Unshakable Trust, and Raise a Respectable Adult ($14.82, Amazon), says teenage motivation comes down to drive. “What most kids need is a ‘why’ because they always want to know, ‘Why am I doing this?’ And the answer from you can’t be, ‘Because I told you so.'”

“There has to be something that pushes him/her past the inconveniences, the shortcomings, and the hiccups that will, without question, arise when he undertakes something that’s challenging.” Once teens understand how something benefits them, Josh explains they will continue to do it.

“If the reason your child does something is only because it’s important to you, that is short-term motivation and that will end. The reason also needs to be important to your child. Feeling a sense of accomplishment is worth the effort it takes to experience it.”

2. Set up a sleep routine.

Teenagers can appear lazy when often they are simply sleep-deprived. According to pediatrician Michael Crocetti, MD, MPH, a teenager needs between nine and nine-and-a-half of sleep every night, but most only get about seven to seven-and-a-quarter hours of sleep per night

Unlike adults, adolescents are biologically prone to sleeping in later and waking up in the mid-morning, rather than in the early morning. So when your teen is forced out of bed at 7 or 8 a.m. to go to school, their natural sleep cycle is thrown off and they will likely appear lazy, disoriented, and unmotivated — all symptoms of a lack of sleep. Make sure your teen goes to bed on time and gets at least eight hours of sleep a night.

3. Limit screen time.

Research shows it’s important to maintain a balance between screen time and physical activity. It is recommended young people spend no more than two hours a day sitting in front of a small screen and get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day. The following tips can help reduce screen time:

  • Encourage physical activity.
  • Make screen time a reward by ensuring your teen completes their homework or chores first.
  • Schedule screen-free time and make family meals an opportunity for everyone to connect.
  • Be a good role model by making sure you’re not constantly on your smartphone.

4. Make sure they are OK.

Sometimes laziness can be a symptom of other deeper issues, like depression, stress, or simply feeling down. Check in with your teen’s emotional well-being and let them know you can talk with them about anything, big or small. If you are worried about your child’s depression or anxiety, consider talking to a medical professional about next steps.

5. Teach responsibility.

It’s important for teens to help out with chores and learn responsibility. Here’s how to set chores and get them done without any nagging:

  • Set a plan with your teen for the chores they would prefer to do.
  • Agree on a reasonable time frame for completion of chores.
  • Be firm and clear about the consequences for not completing the chores; this can range from no screen time, to less pocket money, or not being allowed to go out with their friends.

6. Show them the love.

Your teenager might not act like they need it or want it, but they need to know you love them, care for them, and respect them. When your teen knows you are emotionally available to support them, you may just see a welcome change in their behavior.

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This article was originally written by Fiona Wright. For more, check out our sister site, Now to Love.

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