Character Traits for Kids and How to Nurture Them (Lists, Activities)
Kids should not only be well-rounded, but also develop spiritually. That`s no less important than being an educated person. Today’s topic is virtues.
What Are Character Traits?
The human personality consists of a set of character traits. There are positive, negative, and neutral ones. A human character is like a cocktail, the contents of which determine its taste, appearance, and quality. Moreover, it’s up to a person to decide on the so-called ingredients he wants to possess. To put it simply, we can choose the qualities and skills we want to have and then develop them. The same is true for positive character traits in kids. But it`s parents who are responsible for character building, not children.
The Connection Between Character Traits and Child Personality
Some traits characterize our appearance, while others give an idea about our inner world. The inside and outside character traits list includes such traits as the color of eyes, hair, complexion, and clothing style (outside ones), as well as how we react to life situations, think, and communicate (inner traits). Kids can decide on their outside traits to some extent. By the way, by letting them choose the clothes to put on, you develop their decision-making skills.
The Traits or Circumstances research revealed that kids are inclined to explain behavioral outcomes by personality traits. That means that children are ready to learn new models of behavior. You should only find an effective method.
The building of inner traits is an extremely painstaking process. It cannot be made in several days. You have to work on it every single day. But the result is worth it. The character traits your little one possesses can determine his future:
- family happiness;
- career success;
- the sense of contentment, etc.
Character Traits to Nurture in Children
Kindness – the #1 Virtue
The core trait that should be present in a child’s personality is kindness. That`s a feature that makes us humans. A kind kid does not only do good deeds for others but also recharges himself with positivity.
Activities to Develop Kindness: Prosocial Modeling research reveals that witnessing an act of kindness inspires people to follow the example. That means the best way to teach kindness is to be kind and involve kids in it. Also, read thematized books and watch movies. Kindness Is My Superpower is a nice starting point.
Courage – the Virtue of Mindful People
One needs bravery to see a dentist or pass a math test. This trait is in charge of our success as well. Courage kids grow up to be ready to accept new challenges, take risks, and live diverse lives. For this, kids must also be calm and aware of their body reactions. Courage is also needed in a personal relationship – to approach someone, tell the truth, forgive, and not give up.
Activities to Develop Courage: Model real-life situations, set personal examples, and involve kids in activities where courage is needed. It could be sports activities or team games where each member shares responsibilities. Such activities also nurture flexible thinking.
Honesty – the Trait that Needs Courage
To possess this quality one needs to be brave. See how it`s interconnected. A small kid may fear penalties, while an adult may have more serious consequences, beginning with financial losses and ending with a break up with a close one. Still, honesty makes our life easier.
Activities to Develop Honesty: You have to demonstrate to kids that there is nothing wrong with being honest. Never punish them after they have revealed the truth! Make a family tradition to confess to bad deeds every month. But you should be honest as well. Read more literature about honesty.
Gratitude – the Skill to Cherish Other People`s Deeds
We are not only consumers. That means we must accept favors from other people and give something instead. That’s what gratitude is about.
Activities to Develop Gratitude: Send postcards to people and tell them what you are grateful for. Make a thanks jar and put in notes with the situation and people you are grateful to. Parents should reveal their gratitude by making presents or just saying thank you. Read more about the topic in Gratitude Is My Superpower book.
Confidence – the Most Lacking Character Trait
A lot of kids suffer from low self-esteem. The triggers of it surround kids everywhere. Take, for example, negative TV impacts promoting the standards of beauty and success or even close ones who tend to be too criticizing.
Activities to Develop Confidence: Enroll children in a sports class, let them participate in competitions and support them when they fail to win, practice yoga and turn negative self-talk into positive ones. Watch films and read books where children overcome their fears and believe in themselves. Developing self-esteem with Confidence Is My Superpower book is a nice idea as well.
Patience – the Must-Have for Strong-Willed Kids
This one is the most difficult to teach among character traits for kids. We are constantly in a rush, having no time to wait. Kids are less busy but want to have everything at once. It makes them irritated and causes temper tantrums. What a relief if your little one is patient!
Activities to Develop Patience: Play games with kids where participants have to commit actions by taking turns, use such tools as timers and planners to plan your kids` schedule. Encourage them to follow it. Read Patience Is My Superpower book for more ideas.
Acceptance – the Most Important Point in the List of Character Traits for Kids
Diversity is the word we can describe in our modern society. Each day, one can encounter individuals of various nationalities, customs, appearances, social statuses, dressing styles, etc. The task is to treat them with respect. To do it, one needs to accept differences. That’s what you have to teach your child.
Activities to Develop Acceptance: Travel around the world, encourage kids to meet different people, and create a room for getting along with a lot of children (classes, summer camps, etc). Let them make changes and be themselves, read Acceptance Is My Superpower, never criticize other people for not being the same, etc.
How to Avoid Building Negative Character Traits?
You show and tell little boys and girls what good traits are. Do the same with negative ones. Discuss with kids such topics as:
- Bad deeds and their consequences;
- Good and evil;
- Negative behavior, etc.
Preschoolers cannot comprehend it all, so you should be very clear. The best way to explain it to them is to show the list of negative character traits. Take the previous positive ones as base units and try to find antonyms for them.
- Kindness – selfishness, cruelty, animosity;
- Courage – cowardice, fears;
- Honesty – deceitfulness, mendacity;
- Gratitude – selfishness;
- Confidence – uncertainty; self-criticism;
- Patience – restlessness;
- Acceptance – intolerance.
Give children real-life examples of the negative traits. Discuss with them which ones:
- They already have;
- Are easy to cope with;
- It is not about them.
Each time your kid reveals negative self-trait, discuss it with him, but don’t punish him. Think together about how you can overcome this situation.
How do I get rid of negative character traits in my child?
There is no person in the world free from character disadvantages. Everything you could do is teach a kid to determine the bad traits and critically assess his behavior. Also, show him that having more positive traits is much cooler.
My kid doesn’t want to listen to me when I talk to him about virtues
Kids tend to misbehave. It’s OK. But make sure the way you teach him virtues are:
- Based on your own examples,
- Bring them fun;
- They are not boring.
In short, make it more kid-oriented, and don’t let yourself ignore the rules you try to nurture in your little one.
Who influences my kid`s behavior?
The peer environment has the most powerful effect. Children look up at each other and copy someone else’s behavior. Unless you have a strong bond, your kid will be under the influence of his friends. Try to surround your kid with more virtue-oriented surroundings at home and kindergarten/school.
The Bottom Line
Most parents want their kids to be successful and rich. That’s right. We all want to. But you should first bring up a kind of a good person. Without virtues, it’s impossible to be a human. Mind it!
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