How to Use Commitments in the Hallway
Research indicates that making a commitment activates the prefrontal lobes, increases the likelihood of success, produces serotonin and promotes mindful attention. You can incorporate commitments into your family’s day in many ways. You might employ a commitment that changes on a daily or weekly basis like this one. You might also create a longstanding agreement like the one the Bug Family has posted at the door for when someone leaves the home.
For the daily or weekly commitment, have a family meeting to decide what your family values, wants to see more of, and wishes to improve. Is it important for family members to use gentle touches? To take turns? To wake up on time? To remember to knock before entering a room with a closed door? To take 5 minutes of quiet time every day? To S.T.A.R. when they’re feeling upset? Choose the most important values your family is willing to commit to, photograph or draw them, and label them with the action shown.
On a piece of foam board, tape a piece of card stock or poster board to create a pocket to hold your commitment cards. Write each family member’s name on the board with space for one commitment beneath it. Put one Velcro dot on the back of each card and beneath each name.
Decide whether you will commit daily or weekly. To commit, family members select a card and commit to doing that behavior for either a day or a week. At the end of the time period, everyone checks in with a “Yay, I did it” or an “Oops, I’m working on it,” reflects on what they noticed about themselves, and discusses how the commitment went for them. Then it’s time to make a new commitment by selecting a new card to Velcro in place. Add to your stash of commitment cards as new ideas arise.
In families with preteens and teenagers, you may want to use a piece of laminated paper to serve as a dry erase board instead of a picture commitment card. Affix the laminated page beneath the older child’s name. The younger children will continue using the picture cards, but the older child would write his or her commitment on the laminated page. At the end of the day or week when it’s time to change commitments, simply erase the old commitment and write a new one.