As parents, grandparents and caregivers, there are numerous quality traits that we want our children to have. In this article, we’ll talk about five important character traits that are essential for kids to have. These are great traits for children to learn during their character education learning.
Let's Start with Good Character Trait #5: Self-Control
Having self-control over one's mind and body is a great trait for children to have, because it keeps them from making hasty or impulsive decisions. Children and adults who have the ability to stop and think, instead of reacting emotionally or impulsively, in tough situations, exhibit good self-control.
An Example and Benefit of Self-Control in Children
A 10-year-old and a 5-year-old are playing, and the 5-year-old punches the 10-year-old. The first impulse of the older child may be to hit back. Instead, the 10-year-old stops and thinks, “Hey, this 5-year-old is much smaller than me and doesn't know that when he punches me, it hurts. So I’m not going to retaliate by hitting him back.” In this case, the older child has exhibited good self-control, because he thought about the consequences instead of responding on pure impulse. Practicing self control can prevent many bad situations like from occurring.
Ok, Let's Move on to Good Character Trait #4: Courage
When we talk about courage as a character trait in children, we're not talking about the courage to fight off three bullies. We're talking about actions that seem small to us as adults, but are big in children's lives. Courage for children comes in very different ways.
Why is Courage Important for Children?
Courageous children are able to carry out sometimes difficult actions, such as:
- speaking up for themselves or others when appropriate
- not always following the crowd, especially when the crowd is engaged in bad/dangerous activities
- walking away from a fight or argument before it starts
Having courage can arm children with the tools needed to make decisions that can greatly improve their lives. A seemingly little thing like having the courage to say no to a dangerous activity could potentially save another child’s life or their own.
An Example of Courage in Children
A child is hanging out in the neighborhood with a group of friends, and one of them says, “Hey, it would be cool to go play on the train tracks.” The other kids agree and proceed to go play on the tracks. Instead of following his/her friends, the child decides, “Playing on the train tracks is dangerous. Even if my friends are doing it, I'm not going to do it.” Children who are able to make similar decisions have courage, which can help keep them out of harm’s way for years to come.
Ok, Let's Move on to Good Character Trait #3: Kindness
Having kindness, and the ability to show it, is another great character trait that children should have. Kindness includes the quality of being friendly, considerate and generous to other people and the environment.
It’s important for children to learn and practice kindness, because children who are kind to others, and the world around them, are more likely to continue this behavior as adults.
An Example of Kindness in Children
When a child falls or gets hurt, and a classmate asks, “Are you alright?” and helps pick him up, that classmate is showing kindness. Children who have the ability to show kindness, grow up to be adults who are more likely to continue showing kindness to others..
Ok, Let's Move on to Good Character Trait #2: Respect
Respect, or having high regard for someone or something, is another great character trait for children to have. Respect is often earned from or demanded by others.
When children are able to have and show respect for others, they’re more likely to listen, follow directions and be disciplined.
An Example of Respect in Children
The home and classroom are ideal environments for children to practice respect for their parents and teachers. There may be many times when children do not want to do what their parents/teachers say, or do not agree with what their parents/teachers say. At these times, it is important for children to be respectful.
Having respect for a teacher/parent allows children to be obedient, even if they disagree with or do not understand what is being asked of them.
Ok, Let's Move on to Good Character Trait #1: Love
Love is hands down the most important character trait for children to have. While the formal definition of love is “an intense feeling of deep affection,” we know that definition cannot sum up what love is.
Love is intangible and cannot be taught, from a book like other school subjects, but children can learn what love is through positive experiences with parents, family and friends. Childhood experiences can greatly affect how children treat others and themselves as adults.
Children can learn and experience love when:
- They build positive memories with family and friends
- Witness positive interactions among family and friends
- See family members take care of their own mental, physical and spiritual health
Children often learn by imitation; therefore, children who are often surrounded by love are more likely to love others and themselves. Love helps children improve their ability to build healthy relationships as adults.
An Example of Love in Children
A group of children are playing together at the park. An unpopular kid (but the best friend of one of the children) attempts to join the fun. A couple of kids decide to make malicious jokes about the unpopular kid, but one kid (the best friend) decides not to join in on the jokes. He understands that joining in on the jokes, about his friend, is not the way to show his friend love.
Good Character Trait Summary
Let’s review the five quality character traits for children to have:
- Self Control
Situations where these traits are handy are prevalent in our children’s daily lives. Helping your child develop these quality character traits during their developmental years will prepare them to become respectful, caring and kind adults.
In the comments section below, feel free to share other character traits that you believe are ideal for children to have.