Children’s behavior: What is character?

By Joni Downey on 11th Mar 2020

To be honest, when I was growing up, the word character was used in cartoon form, like Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny! Not until our children were growing did the word character come up. So, what is character otherwise? This is a tough question for many, none the less, our children deserve to be introduced and taught vital core values in order to help shape who they are in life.

The famous basketball coach John Wooden said: “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” Therefore, teaching a child good character is a daily adventure because we want them to make good choices and become the best they can be. I believe that being a positive role model is a great way to start.

What is a good age to begin teaching good character to a child? Right away, the earlier the better I say! If you think about it for a minute, you teach your child to have good manners when they start to talk, “say please” or “thank you”. You’re already engaging them in lifelong lessons of character building. Here are some thoughts to use to help bring awareness to the process of developing positive character traits:

– Be an influence, be a positive role model
– Be verbal, communicate what you expect from your child using kind words
– Be positive, use positive words and actions to build self-esteem
– Be a good listener, stop what you’re doing and listen
– Be an encourager, cheer them on when they do good
– Encourage them when they fail, to try again, don’t give up
– Be a volunteer and show them the importance of giving back
– Be kind to yourself and others and they will see who you are

From experience, the best one is to be a good listener. First, life gets busy and we hustle and bustle through the day, a conversation and through our travels. It’s important to stop and listen. Have eye contact with the speaker and hear what they are saying. Years ago, when our daughter was younger, she asked for the keys and said she would be back after her curfew. ‘WHAT’ I said! She said: I asked you if it was alright and you said that it was”? That was my eye-opener as I was busy doing whatever and heard her, but I was not listening. Our rule from then on was to make sure we had eye contact when having a conversation, it feels good!

These are the traits that Characters of Character developed, and children can relate to:
– Behavior Bear teaches good behavior
– Do’er Duck teaches perseverance
– Friendship Frog teaches friendship
– Healthy Hippo teaches healthy habit
– Manners Monkey teaches good manners
– Respectful Rabbit teaches respect
– Responsible Rabbit teaches responsibility
– Self-Esteem Elephant teaches confidence
– Warm-Hearted Walrus teaches kindness

Teaching our children these vital core values shapes them into their own character and helps them to gain a deeper awareness to develop these positive character traits.  For more information, visit

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