The pure joy of cleaning is not always enough to encourage children to pick up their toys or help sweep the crumbs off the kitchen floor. There are many techniques out there for incentivizing cleaning and household chores.

The pure joy of cleaning is not always enough to encourage children to pick up their toys or help sweep the crumbs off the kitchen floor. There are many techniques out there for incentivizing cleaning and household chores.

Here are five of the steps you will need to get the job done, with your child’s help.

1. Part of the family
The most basic and fundamental incentive is that material incentives are not a necessity. Everyone in the family helps run the family home. We all work together. Let your child know how valuable he is to the family. Explain that the home is a better place because he is a part of it. Foster the feeling that your child’s contribution is important. This type of reinforcement will provide your child with the critical sense of belonging and security.

2. Attainable goals
Set reasonable goals for your child. A 2-year-old can squirt water on plant leaves, water plants, toss dirty laundry in a hamper and even learn to sweep floors or wipe down cabinets. A 9-year-old can sort and fold laundry, keep her room tidy and help you with dinner. Make the chore appropriate to the age of the child and doable within a reasonable period of time.

3. Make it fun
If your child views the task as a game, it will take the work out of the chore and energize you both. Set a timer for 10 minutes and try to beat the clock cleaning the family room. Sing a silly song while you work or, better yet, whistle. If your child sees you having a good time getting things done, chances are that’s the way she will view it.

4. Positive reinforcement
 According to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ HealthyChildren.org, praising your child honestly and recognizing when he has done well is a key step in building his confidence. The goal is to give your child a feeling of success so he’ll want to keep on cleaning and helping. It doesn’t matter if every crumb is caught or there’s a little water spillage. Do not criticize earnest effort or redo a task. Your child will not sweep the floor the way you would, but it is better he feels he did a good job and you appreciate it rather than learn how to do it the “right” way.

5. Offer a reward occasionally
Once your child is used to consistently helping out with chores around the house, you can up the ante a bit. Offer a special reward for a bigger task, one that lies outside the normal scope of housework. Maybe washing Dad’s car or shoveling the elderly neighbor’s walkway can earn a monetary reward. Even better — offer the reward of special time with you. Playing ball, reading a book together or going to a special movie are a few ideas.