7 Steps to Build Character in Children

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
Maya Angelou

An excellent character is comprised of admirable traits, such as courage, responsibility, humility, and honesty, and it is an individual’s best possession. But a child’s character development can’t emanate only from classroom and church activities. It takes a combined effort from church, school, family, and community to help a child develop good character. If the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow, then we have to seize every opportunity to help our children build character for a saner future.

Building character in a child is not a walk in the park. Sometimes it can be heart-breaking and frustrating, but that doesn’t mean you should kick away your effort. If you do, that kid will grow up with unacceptable behavior. We want our children to grow into adults with hearts brimming with a warm golden light. We can follow the steps below to instill impeccable character in our children.

What You Can Do to Build Character in Children

Be the child’s role model. You have the opportunity to allow the character you wish to build in your child find expression in you. Children believe that those closest to them are right about everything they do. So, do what you want the child to do, and you will see good character develop.

Share stories of individuals with exceptional character. Get into the habit of sharing stories that feature those who do the right thing, like C. S. Lewis, Ben Carson, etc.

Act like you are the only one left to build character in the child. Don’t rely entirely on anyone else to teach your child how to build character. Your contribution is as vital as that of anyone else. Stand on the frontline of decimating bad attitudes and instilling good character in your child.

Help the child filter their heroes. Children are prone to copy superstars they see on TV. You influence who they emulate by exposing them to heroes known to possess the character traits you want them to build.

Interact with the child consistently. Always ask probing questions that help them discern the kind of character traits they must not develop. For example, “How did it make you feel when that impatient driver honked at you to go before it was safe to do so?”

Be mindful of what you believe in. Pay attention to your beliefs because they determine your behavior and your behavior impacts your child.

Set a standard, and let the child see you measure up to the standard. When we succeed in building character in ourselves, our children will have no trouble building their own character. For our children to develop good character, they must first see it in us.

There are several worthwhile character traits you can help a child cultivate. Whether a toddler or teenager, all children can practice these qualities. In this article, I will focus on four characteristics you can help a child develop.

Self-control: Helping kids build character traits such as self-control will enable them to make the right decisions for their success later in life. Self-control allows the child to restrain themselves, for example, if they are bullied and know they could level the bully with a punch. A child who has this discipline from a young age will be able to withstand tougher situations as an adult that require a lot of restraint.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

―Abigail Van Buren

Honesty: Many children believe that honesty means “Don’t exaggerate,” “Don’t tell lies.” Well, that’s a part of the definition. But honesty means more than not exaggerating or not lying. It means doing the right thing. We can help kids to build trustworthiness by praising them for telling the truth. Also, do not call your kid a liar when they say something you consider untruthful. Bring them close and tell them gently, “That is not entirely correct….”

Respect: Many movies and shows that children are exposed to promote disrespect and a rude way of dealing with others. Thus, to teach a child to practice respect, don’t turn a blind eye when you see them speak rudely to someone older. Teach basic manners, like saying “thank you,” “please,” and “I’m sorry.”  More importantly, learn also to correct your child respectfully.

Creativity: To help a child build their creativity, teach them to play games that require the creative power of their intellect. Games positively influence a child’s ability to conjure up a lot of things.

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