Boy thinking about commitment

5 Ways to Teach Commitment to Your 6 to 12-Year-Olds

Commitment has become a scary word for many in today’s world. In fact, many don’t even consider what’s involved before they say yes. If it feels good at the moment, do it! It seems to be a given that if things don’t go the way they thought, they just opt out. Those who live their lives in such a way are destined to fail in college, marriage, at work, and in parenting. Those who have never learned to follow through with commitments cannot experience success and will never live a meaningful life.

A commitment is like a path that leads us in the direction of a goal. It keep us focused on what we will gain the end. Commitments build confidence as we discover our strengths and improve our weaknesses. Any parent who wants to see their child lead a life full of purpose surrounded by meaningful relationships will teach them the importance of making and keeping commitments.

Every commitment is a choice. But with a child’s limited attention span and their inability to understand living beyond the present, making commitments can be difficult. Starting early with short commitments or promises is best for preschoolers. But when they reach school age, it’s time to get more serious. Kids should be more involved in choosing what they want to commit to and be required to think about the cost. Yes – the cost! What will they have to give up if they join that sports team? Will they still walk their dog when it’s pouring rain or snowing? Now is the best time to teach them stick-to-itiveness so they’ll be one of those responsible, reliable teenagers, well on their way to living the best life possible.

5 Ways to Teach Commitment to Your 6 to 12-Year-Olds

1. Assign household chores. Commitments involve work. Whether mental or physical, every commitment requires work. When kids participate in chores, they learn the value of work. Societies cannot function apart from each person committing to work and doing their job well. Everything requires upkeep. Teach your kids to work rather than depend on you to do everything for them. And don’t settle for sloppy. It will be one of the greatest gifts you ever give them. Here are some age appropriate ideas for home chores if you need help getting started.

2. Enroll them in a sport or music lessons. Involve them in the decision. Let it be their choice in the end. Discuss the cost. Daily or weekly practices teach both commitment and the joy of accomplishment.

3. Play difficult board games or put puzzles together. Even learning to play chess or putting together a 500-piece puzzle teaches commitment. By sticking to it until it’s finished, kids experience great satisfaction – or maybe relief! Plus – there’s so much more they learn along the way involving critical thinking, discernment, memory, and a host of other brain-growing skills.

4. Teach your child good time management skills. Once a commitment is made, your child’s routine must make allowances for it in their schedule. Sit down with them when they want to be part of the play at the community theater. It means daily practices for six weeks then a month of weekend performances. When will the chores be done? When will the homework be done? When will they practice piano? Help them to create a schedule and ask for an additional commitment to follow it!

5. Partner with them in a commitment. Be both the example and the accountability they need. Sign up to be part of the teaching team for your church’s preschoolers. Divide responsibilities and hold them to their commitment even if they get invited to a Sunday outing on that day. Tell them when you don’t really feel like teaching either, but you knew ahead of time you would feel this way. You already counted the costs and will follow through.

Your commitment to building character into your children is a long and difficult process. Be patient and consistent. Your example as a parent will stay with them for life. One day they will thank you for your perseverance as you struggled through the years. And they will follow that same example with their own kids!