Kids have amazing memories! Even if they can’t communicate it, there’s a good chance they know when they were promised something and you didn’t follow through. In my son’s case, he’s a talker, so he can communicate it! Even though he’s only two, if I tell him in the morning we will play with blocks at night, he remembers and will remind me!
Part of building trust with kids is showing that you are reliable. This is as true for discipline as it is for fun activities. So many times I’ve threatened discipline if instructions were not followed only to realize that following through will be an inconvenience for me. It’s annoying to have to drop what I’m doing and follow through with correction. But it’s exactly what kids need.
They need to know that when you promise something good, you’ll deliver. And when you promise something corrective, they need to see you follow through there too. Kids thrive on consistency from their parents because it builds a relationship they can count on.
It’s easy to get lazy with the little things thinking we will follow through on the big ones. But it’s the little everyday consistency that builds trust over time. It’s playing with your kids when you said you would or correcting them as promised even if it slows you down.