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Character building in the home

It is important as parents that we value and emphasize positive character development in our children. Character training starts at home and should start early. The best opportunities for teaching positive character are found in everyday, real-life situations.

Character development

Teaching our children at home is far more than reading, writing and arithmetic. Whether you are a homeschooling parent or not, it’s important to help your kids develop strong character and moral values.

When we see attitudes or behaviors in our children that we do not approve of, we should take the opportunity to reinforce positive character traits. In the same way, we should recognize and praise positive character.

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-building books

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?

Raising kids of solid character >>

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.

  • Honesty
  • Diligence
  • Loyalty
  • Deference
  • Cheerfulness
  • Kindness
  • Contentment
  • Gratitude
  • Service
  • Orderliness

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.

Parenting Guru: Raising grateful kids >>

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.

Find an age-appropriate chore list for your kids >>

Character development resources

  • Get a printable list of character traits with definitions from Character First.
  • Character in Action offers character education / character-building books and materials and free lesson plans for the family. This is the perfect resource to build your character notebook.
  • Find free lessons to build your own character journal at The Character Journal.
  • Look for free character education teaching tools from Character Counts.
  • Listen to free character development songs and other life skills songs from Songs for Teaching.

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

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