Whether we like it or not, when it comes to character training, more is caught than taught. Children will easily learn what is right and expected if they see and experience it daily.
We are parents — we are not perfect. I personally want to curl up under a blanket when I see my children mimic the very worst character traits they have learned from me. Thankfully, there are some excellent activities, curriculum and resources to help us with character education at home.
"Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught." ~J.C. Watts
One of the easiest ways to teach character to little ones is through books with strong characters and a great storyline. There are so many wonderful books that can help teach our children about trust, truthfulness, respect, fairness, caring and responsibility. Our favorite character-building books are the Berenstain Bears books. What better way to teach our children about envy and being content than with the Green-Eyed Monster?
Character training notebook
Creating a character notebook is simple and beneficial for the entire family. The training notebook will highlight a different trait each week or every other week. You can study the following 10 character traits or create your own.
You will need a three-ring binder, lined paper or cardstock, divider tabs and clear protective sleeves. Give each tab a character trait and insert lessons and activities pertaining to the trait of the week. There are a number of free online resources to choose from listed below. You can also make a chart to show your child's progress on traits you are trying to build.
Character building through chores
It's never too early for children to start doing chores and helping out around the home. Chores teach life skills, responsibility, self-discipline and team work. It's not what we do for our children that will help them in the future, but what we have taught them to do for themselves.
Character development resources
The children we raise today will determine the kind of world we live in tomorrow. As parents, our goal should be to equip our children with strong character traits that will last them well into adulthood.
More about character and values
Teaching your kids about family values
Spoiled rotten: Why you shouldn't coddle your kids
Raising compassionate children