What does it mean to have a good character? People who have good character do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. They are respectful, responsible, reliable, and considerate to others.
We all want to see our children show good character, but teaching traits such as kindness, reliability, and honesty can seem overwhelming. Read on as we share a few character-building activities that you can incorporate into your daily routine.
Model the traits you are teaching
The most powerful way to teach a child anything is to model it. Let your children see you act in caring, responsible, and resilient ways. When you talk about others, speak about them with kindness and compassion. We all make mistakes - when you do, apologize and let your children hear it. When you face a difficult situation, if it is age-appropriate, allow your child to see the way you get through it with empathy and perseverance. It is beneficial for children to see adults respectfully handle conflict and work towards goals, even when it’s hard.
Read books featuring characters learning about good character traits
Books for children often feature characters who are learning lessons about having good character. They get to see when characters struggle with having good character traits and how they develop and learn the better behaviors. Check out this list of books that build character.
Discuss why it is important to have good character traits
When you model positive character traits and read about them in a story, be sure to draw attention to the qualities you want your child to learn and help them to understand why they should. Ask questions such as, “How did their behavior affect others?”, “How did they change from the beginning of the story to the end?”, or “What might have happened if they didn’t help?”
Provide positive praise
Anytime you are trying to reinforce good behavior, it is important to point out and praise your child when they do it. Highlight the specific behavior, link it to a good character trait, and make your child feel great! You can say, “I saw the way you helped your sister up when she fell. That was very kind of you!”
Developing good character can start at a very young age and continue to grow and develop over time. Be sure to share these good values with your child, discuss the value in having great character, and praise them when you see them display those good character traits!
Boys and Girls Club of Wooster enables all young people, especially those who need us the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Through Before School, After School, and Summer programs, we provide a safe, welcoming space for our members to learn, explore, grow, and develop into leaders in our community. Visit BGCWooster.org to learn more about who we are and how your partnership can impact the children and teens of Wooster, Ohio.