Character traits like commitment aren’t born in us, but are purposely developed. How can we help our kids develop this very important life skill? How can we share with them both the importance of commitment and the practical steps to developing commitment?
In my own experience, I've found that kids learn character traits through both strong modeling and active participation.
We must show them what commitment looks like, and we must purposely give them opportunities for this rich treasure to develop in their hearts.
I want to give you 11 simple ways to teach kids commitment in this post!
4 Ways to Model Commitment to Kids
1) Maintain a strong marriage.
How do we persevere during the hardest moments of marriage? How do we handle conflict? Marriage can be extremely challenging, but do our kids see us working together to solve issues? Just things to think about.
2) Set big goals and work hard toward them.
Whether it's a goal to lose 20 pounds or to learn a new hobby, our kids learn so much from us as they see us persevere toward our own goals.
Be real with your kids through the struggle to stay committed to your goals! I believe it's just as important for them to see us standing strong as it is for us to admit the challenges of commitment.
3) Show them unconditional grace.
How do we respond when a child falls short? While it’s important to correct (and sometimes that correction includes discipline), I believe it’s equally important to shower a child with unconditional love which demonstrates not only our commitment to him as a parent, but God’s commitment to him.
4) Share inspiring real-world stories of others.
Thankfully, our world is filled with amazing stories of folks who chose to persevere through difficult challenges and stay committed to a goal. My kids and I spoke about this at length as we watched the recent Summer Olympics.
Our family also reads books (and watches movies) like these that share these incredible stories of perseverance and loyalty.
8 Hands-On Ways to Teach Kids About Commitment
Want kids to see first hand what commitment means? Have them set a goal, try something new and start working toward it!
Here are some ideas:
1) Get them involved in daily household chores.
Chores are a great way to tangibly teach kids about the ongoing commitment to keep the family home running. Here’s some ideas on age-appropriate chores and some chore lists.
2) Have them take care of a pet.
Whether it’s caring for farm animals, a family cat or dog, or even a fish, the daily responsibilities of animal ownership certainly teach commitment.
Last year my son raised a pig as a 4-H project and wow, did that grow his character development! There were many times he wanted to quit, but he had to learn the importance of committing to the end since he'd already decided to raise the pig for the fair. He told me at the end that it was hard work, but he's excited to do it again next year.
3) Work together on a big home project.
What great treasures can be learned from tackling a kitchen remodel as a family or maintaining a garden together!
4) Teach them a sport or an instrument.
Daily practices teach both commitment and the joy of accomplishment.
5) Play difficult board games or put puzzles together.
Even learning to play chess or putting together a 500-piece puzzle teaches commitment. There’s great value in finishing something, especially when it’s difficult!
6) Offer regular challenges.
We parents must master the fine art of encouraging kids just beyond what they think they can do. Perhaps that’s asking them to complete a difficult math problem, asking him to read especially challenging literature, or even taking them on a short-term missions trip.
7) Develop a schedule for your child.
Here's how my kids manage their own schedules (and yours can too!). This is a great way to teach how commitment works hand-in-hand with planning and self-management!
8) Encourage patience with siblings and/or those who may be different.
Some of my kids have a hard time getting along because their personalities are so different. And yet, by teaching them to get along and love each other (despite the differences), we're teaching them that commitment is not conditional on behavior.
A verse I find myself quoting a lot around my house is Ephesians 4:2-3: “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
Commitment is one of those great character traits that grows little by little, layer by layer as we encourage our kids to step out and try new challenges.
What ideas do you have for teaching commitment to your kids? Let's share them in the comments below!