How to Raise a Child of Character

“Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are to some extent a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece—by thought, choice, courage and determination.”

We all want to raise children who will one day have ‘great character’ – an individual who cares for and about themselves as well as others.  Parenting obviously plays a huge role in the development of children’s character.

That last sentence puts so much pressure on you as a parent, doesn’t it?! Or am I the only mom constantly worried that I am failing my child?!

We all want our children to be compassionate, kind, patient, giving, loyal, honest, respectful … the list goes on. But how do you teach these values to your little one?

How to Raise a Child of Character

I discovered a list of 52 character building thoughts for children (By Leah Davies, M.Ed.) earlier today and I think it’s very useful. The quotes are aimed at teachers and the article gives tips on how to share these with their students. The list is aimed at older children, but I narrowed the list down to these 20 thoughts that I will be using to help my little girl develop these virtues.

Tips on How to Raise a Child of Character

 20 Character Building Thoughts for Children

  1. I treat others the way I want them to treat me.
  2. I am a good sport; I follow the rules, take turns and play fair.
  3. It is okay to laugh at funny things, but not to laugh at others.
  4. In order to have friends, I must act in a kind way.
  5. When I listen, I show others that I care about them.
  6. I try to understand what my friends are feeling.
  7. Sharing with others makes me feel good and makes them feel good too.
  8. I am being polite when I wait for my turn and say please and thank you.
  9. I encourage my friends to do their best.
  10. I am honest; I do not cheat or steal.
  11. When I am angry, I use self-control and do not hurt others.
  12. I am being creative when I dance, draw, paint or write a poem or story.
  13. I do not make fun of other children because I don’t know what their life is like.
  14. I feel successful when I do my best.
  15. Everyone has good and bad feelings.
  16. I take care of myself by eating healthy food, exercising and getting enough rest.
  17. Using manners helps me keep my friends.
  18. I have courage to stand up for children who are teased.
  19. I am me — I do not try to be like someone else.
  20. I care about living things on earth so I recycle and do not litter.

I would love to hear what you think.

Please share your thoughts on how to raise a child of character?


Ways to be present with your child

I often think back to my childhood and how simple things were. For me at least. I can remember days that seemed to go on forever and spending loads of time with family and friends. Simply being. My mom was a housewife when I was little and most of her time was spent with my sister and I. My mom was always there. Always present. That is something we are thankful for every single day.

Things are different today.

We have multiple jobs, run households, rush from one appointment to the next and our to-do lists never seem to get any shorter.

There are so many distractions in our lives that sometimes make it hard to focus on the things that are most important to us.

I’ve realised that my child often sees me as a busy, distracted mom. Mom always has something ‘more important’ to do. That is not the mom I want to be.

I have decided to (or at least try my best to) consciously do 3 things to help me be more present.

I have to prioritise. There will always be dishes to wash and laundry to fold. Why not leave it for another day? What is more important right now?

Put. The. Phone. Down. Or better yet, put it away. If I don’t see those flashing notifications, they won’t bother me as much.

I have to let go of the guilt. I can’t be everything to everyone all of the time. Period.

I don’t want my child to ever feel disconnected from me, so I have put together a list of things I can do to be a more present parent.

Ways to be present with your child
Image source 

Ways to be present with your child:

  1. Listen. And I mean really listen to your child. Make eye contact. Ask questions. Our kids need to feel heard. Pay attention with intention.
  2. Make time for your child everyday. Set aside everything else, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Call it ‘mommy and me’ time and let your child choose how you spend that time together. Show them that nothing is more important to you at that moment.
  3. Laugh together. Tell silly jokes, pull funny faces, have pillow fights.
  4. Encourage and acknowledge your child’s efforts in all that they do.
  5. Join in the fun. Don’t just watch. Grab a crayon and start colouring, kick the ball and play in the sand.
  6. Ask for help with the daily chores. The cooking needs to be done, the laundry needs to be folded and counters need to be wiped. Have you ever asked your little one if they would like to help you? Chances are they would love to be mommy’s little helper.
  7. Teach your child something new. Show your child how to make their own tea (you do the hot water obviously) or snack, how to hang the washing, play a new game, etc.
  8. Talk to your child. It’s so easy to get lost in your own thoughts, especially while you’re driving or shopping. Use this time to chat.
  9. Be spontaneous. Start an impromptu dance party or ‘interrupt’ TV time with something more fun. Who doesn’t love surprises?
  10. Hold tight. Never underestimate the power of a hug.

Ultimately, mindfulness and mindful parenting are about choosing, again and again, to come back to what is happening right here and right now, with kindness and curiosity – Carla Naumburg, Ph.D,  Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters.

I would love to hear your ideas on how to be more present in your child’s day.