Even before I had kids I said that I didn’t care if they were the smartest kids in the class, but I wanted them to have good character. I want to raise the kids that others want to be around and be friends with. I want my kids to be the ones that volunteer when no one else will and will help out a person in need just because they see a need. Everyday I try to find ways to teach them in the moment even if it is something as small as “do overs” when they snatch something from my hand. Here are 5 quick ways we incorporate character into our everyday lives. Believe me, we definitely do not do this all the time and we pretty much had a melt down in Target today.
- Responsibility: Daily tasks as simple as brushing teeth and putting on clothes in the morning are part of teaching personal responsibility. We expect this to be done without asking and often have to prompt the youngest. When we do we use it as a way to remind him why it is important to take care of yourself in simple terms. The same goes for putting away dishes once they are done eating and cleaning up toys once they are done playing. Yes, we have battles, but the more we focus on the reasons why it is important, the less battles we have.
- Books: There are many books that do a great job with character education. One of my personal favorites is by Free Spirit and is called Be Positive. Davis really loves this one as well. You can even take childhood favorites and find lessons in each of them about good character. The important thing to do is to comment on what happened in the book to see if it is hitting home for your kids (it likely is).
- Model Behavior: Let’s be honest, we all have our moments of frustration and breaking points. I’m not going to pretend that doesn’t happen. But, for the most part, our kids are a reflection of us. So, it is in our best interest as parents to model the behavior we hope to see in our own children. I’ve noticed even small things like letting out a little groan of frustration can be a big deal! My kids pick up on everything. I’ve also learned that if I approach them with less frustration we all tend to get what we want a lot quicker.
- Find a Need: You don’t have to look very far to find someone or something in need. Maybe you have an elderly neighbor that could use some company or a friend who is moving that could use an extra hand. What a great way to get your kids involved and show them that life simply does not revolve around them. It is good to take a step back and see the bigger picture.
- Movies: Because we’ve been streaming Netflix for the past few months, we have had the opportunity to take in more shows that really are great for kids. One that has become a favorite for Davis is Care Bears. I remember watching the older version of this when I was growing up and the friendship, responsibility and caring nature of the show is one I agree with. Davis often has questions about being a good friend or helping others once the show has ended. Other shows we really love are Daniel Tiger and The Magic School Bus that are all available on Netflix as well.