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There are many schools of thought on whether or not to force a commitment from a child, or adult, for that matter. No matter which side of the fence you are on, there are some steps that should be taken to help reinforce commitment.

Prior to having challenges, there are a few things that can be done to help avoid this quitter situation in the first place.

First, prior to starting any program, get the child’s buy-in. Make sure the child knows what the commitment is and have him or her verbalize it back to you. This will allow you to reflect back on the promise made at a later date. Second, have a regular schedule. This, too, will help reinforce any commitment challenges (i.e., “It’s our commitment to go to practice every Tuesday and Wednesday).

Always reward their commitment. For example, make sure you congratulate your son or daughter regularly for attending classes on a regular basis. Also, participate when possible. This should be done in more ways than one. If there are parent/child events,
it’s important that you participate with your child. Not only will you build a bond with your child, but it will also help reinforce the importance of the commitment made.

The other way to participate is to take part in activities put on by the business or school. These help keep everyone interested. Encourage your child to make friends. The more a child is anchored to a program by having friends and family involved, the less likely he or she will quit.

Finally, don’t just give in. On occasions, it’s okay to take a break from a class or an event, but make sure there is a follow-up commitment and stick to it at all cost. For example, “If you take off from class on Tuesday, I expect you to go to class on Wednesday instead. Can we agree on that?” This is a great way to prepare your child for many of the commitments he or she will take on throughout life.