21 Character Traits For Kids and How to Develop Them

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As children grow, they develop character traits according to their perceptions and surrounding. To ensure good character development, you can create an environment where your child can obtain some of these important character traits for kids.

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Developing character traits for kids is not an easy task, but still possible

“I got a call from my son’s school teacher yesterday about how he behaved poorly during a class.”

A friend of mine, Sara (27), has a 7-year-old-son who tends to behave impulsively. And for parents, it can be embarrassing to know that their children’s behavior has caused others trouble.

Often, children’s characteristics and behaviors are tied to their parents.

“Don’t you teach them manners?”

Yep. That’s a shout you may get from your relatives or your child’s mom whenever they cause a problem. It’s not pleasing to know that your capability as parents are judged by how well your child develops their own character traits.

Image one day, you pick up your son from school. Then, his teacher approaches you and says that he got into a fight with another classmate.

It can leave you to wonder if your son could really do such aggressive actions, and you promise his teacher that you will talk about it to your son.

Parenting is not easy. Fostering another human being and ensure that they develop good character traits are not a walk in a park.

It can be confusing, stressful, yet satisfying.

When you know that you have successfully encouraged good character traits for your kids, that’s the moment you can feel powerful and proud.

But actually, what are character traits?

What Are Kid’s Character Traits?

A kid’s character traits are the characteristic and valued aspects of your kid that affect their behavior, decision, and choices. The term character trait is often used to describe a character’s personality or qualities that make your kid who they are.

What Are the 7 Character Traits for Kids?

According to Paul Tough in his book How Children Succeed–Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, children need to learn these skills to help them achieve their goals.

Those 7 character traits for kids are;

  1. Grit
  2. Curiosity
  3. Self-control
  4. Social intelligence
  5. Zest
  6. Optimism
  7. Gratitude

“What if a child’s success in school were measured not in IQ but in the strength of character?” is the question Though tries to answer in his book.

Tough says that parents can “fall into the trap of thinking that character is somehow fixed–that you’ve either got a good kid or a bad kid.”

The fact is, your kid is a combination of both good and bad character traits. As parents, you must focus on analyzing your teaching method and figure out what went wrong.

But before we’re digging into that, you need to know the most essential 21 character traits for kids that are known to help your kids succeed in school and life.

The 21 Important Character Traits for Kids

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Kids tend to look up to their parents for a role model and what they want to become once they grow

Every parent’s dream is to have well-mannered kids who succeed in school. Later on in life, they may grow up to be someone people of their age can look up to, loved, and admired.

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The journey to get there isn’t comfortable.

Often, your kid will not always develop all the right character traits. Along the way, they will pick up some bad and negative behavior.

But that’s all about being a human, right? We are a little bit of good and bad character traits combined.

As parents, you need to ensure that your kid gathers more positive character traits and not negative ones.

Here are some best character traits for kids, that once they have it, you should not be much worried about their own journey in life.

#1. Honesty

Honesty is what holds society high. This positive character trait is the best one you can foster and nurture in your kid. It maintains their dignity as human beings and will ensure their easy path along the way.

Honesty benefits your kid and others. It creates a good personality known to people. Once your kid develops this character trait, he is well-distinguished from fake and lying people out there and guaranteed a more comfortable life.

Whether in a relationship, job environment, or social life, honesty is one of the characteristics that everybody seeks.

#2. Responsibility

After honesty, your kid needs to develop a sense of responsibility. For every step you make to ensure that your kid has this characteristic trait, they come closer to become responsible and productive individuals.

Honesty and responsibility go well together. When you do what you have promised, people will see you as a responsible and reliable individual.

Imagine otherwise. You will see a dishonest person and avoid responsibility. This is not someone you want to be close to, nor is it someone you want your kid wants to be.

#3. Trustworthy

Trustworthiness is vital to ensure that your kid will have a quality life. Trust is based on truth, hence honesty, and it leads to responsibility. Those are the necessity in any personal relationship.

When your kid gains other people’s trust, it means that people will ask him to do more. Slowly, this can build up to a much more remarkable case where your son is admired and becoming a role model.

Over time, it builds up confidence in your kid and allows themselves to accomplish more. And the sweet goal? Your kid is living up to their potential.

These first 3 character traits for kids I mentioned were the most important you need to teach to your kid. They are so rare that not many adults are capable of holding these 3 together.

#4. Confidence

Being confident allows your kid to perform better. It also enables your kid to communicate more effectively, concisely, and with clarity. Besides, confidence helps your kid to feel ready whenever they approach new opportunities.

Confidence is an important character trait for kids if you want them to advance their life and career.

#5. Kindness

When your kid shows any form of kindness, his brain releases endorphins. It helps him to feel more calm and optimistic. Engaging in the act of kindness also promotes self-worth and lowers the stress hormone.

Kindness attracts people and strengthens relationships. A study that began in 1986 at the University of Washington has shown that kindness is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a relationship.

#6. Compassion

Compassion means empathy and showing other people that you care about them. Learning this character trait allow your kids to connect with people, help things done, and deal with stress.

It also gives your kid the ability to understand someone else’s situation and ignite the will to take action to help others. Being compassionate brings empathy forward by imagining being in someone else’s shoes.

#7. Courage

Everyone fears something or someone. The difference lies in how you deal with it. Real courage requires wisdom in the sense that your kid can respond to take the appropriate risks.

Courage helps your kid to take action against those who put their lives in danger or those who act negatively.

#8. Optimism

The psychology expert says that optimistic people are more likely to invest, act, and effort to achieve what they want and get it done.

Your kid needs to develop high optimism as it predicts high effort and success. It is essential to maintain optimism for your kid to accomplish goals in their life.

#9. Hopeful

Hope is one of the most powerful character traits for kids to learn. As children grow, they will face obstacles and find that the odds are not in their favor.

Hope is the only thing that will encourage them to keep moving forward. To have high hopes in the future empowers your kid to bounce back from the troubles they are facing.

#10. Positive Attitude

A positive attitude grants your kid the ability to cope easily with the daily struggle and bring optimism to deal with worries and negative thoughts. Once your kid adopts this character trait as a way of life, it would change his or her life, brings happiness and contentment forward.

#11. Thoughtfulness

Thoughtfulness goes side by side with kindness. Both of them are required to master as they can help your kid to neutralize the negativity. Besides, doing nice things for others can brighten up their days and promote a positive attitude.

#12. Humbleness

Imagine if your kid acts arrogant in front of other people. When not taken care of properly, kids will develop an arrogant character that will decrease their own position in life.

Humble people are reaping the benefit of this life because they show higher levels of physical and mental well-being. They draw other people closer as they show generosity, helpfulness, and gratitude.

#13. Patience

This character trait helps your kid make better decisions by taking a step back to get their thoughts in order. Patience helps to keep your kid’s emotions and feelings under control. In the long run, being patient preserves relationships.

It creates a trusting bond and holds people together as people with patience will not easily be frustrated when things don’t go their way. Hence, other people are easily drawn to an individual who can demonstrate the endurance to control himself.

#14. Generosity

A 2003 research study at the University of Michigan states that generosity can improve your kid’s mental and physical health. It also promotes longevity and helps reduce stress. Generous kids are personally happier and more peaceful with themselves.

Raising your kid to be generous allows them to learn that they need to consider others’ needs and what it means to share with other people.

#15. Creativity

Your kid should be able to express himself. Being creative is one way to express and cope with his feelings. Creativity fosters your child’s mental growth by providing opportunities to try new ideas and new ways of thinking.

Developing creativity helps your kid to solve problems in his own way and explore a wide range of skills that are useful in life.

#16. Hardworking

Raising a kid who knows that they can work hard to achieve their successes and goals but not a workaholic is essential. According to Fatherly, hardworking kids have a higher sense of self-esteem and a higher chance of success later in life.

When kids work hard in school and pursuing education, they will soon develop vast knowledge and valuable skills to build confidence.

#17. Contentment

Although your kid may pave his way into success by hard work, he should be content and happy with whatever he has achieved. Contentment is an essential ingredient for happiness. Otherwise, he will continuously demand more and still unhappy.

#18. Alertness

Kids who effectively control their alertness can be laser-focused without becoming mentally fatigued. This is an important character trait for your kid to learn as being alert in class can improve learning and performance.

Alertness allows your kid to perform better, become more aware, creative, and resourceful. Being quick to perceive and act related to psychology and physiology can be helpful during a dangerous situation or emergency.

#19. Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is infectious. When your kid is enthusiastic, he will also inspire others. It helps him and others to do their tasks more focused and keep the priorities straight. 

Once your kid develops enthusiasm, it helps him push through difficulties, failures, and obstacles in life. Fact says that people follow enthusiastic and passionate leaders.

#20. Sincerity

Sincerity is vital to create trust. People who are perceived as sincere in their manner and words tend to be seen as trustworthy. It also helps your kid to find the inner tranquility he may seek as he grows up.

#21. Faith

Faith is a crucial element of all human life. This is one of the most essential character traits for kids they need to develop. Having faith helps your kid get through. It also illuminates the pathway in a time of darkness.

Why Is It Important for Kids to Learn About Character Traits?

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Developing the correct set of character traits can greatly impact your child’s future

Children who learn character traits have better success in school and life journey. The positive character traits teach them to be more honest, responsible, trustworthy, caring, and compassionate.

When your kid learns those positive character traits above, they will learn how to cooperate with other people. They will also learn to tolerate different viewpoints and to pay attention to the needs of other people.

Kids are beginners in their life journey. Your 3-year-old is not yet ready to share every time he needs to. He doesn’t know how to overcome his fear of speaking in front of the class.

When your kid wants something, he wants to have it then and there. He doesn’t know about being patient, and he struggles to use his words when expressing his own feelings and emotions.

That is why it is important to teach character traits to your kids. One way to do that is to create an environment where your child can develop several sets of positive character traits.

How to Develop Good Character Traits for Kids?

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Leading by way of giving examples is the best method known to teach positive character traits to your kids

To succeed in school and later in life, your child needs to develop good character traits. Once he has successfully grasped the positive character traits, he gains trust and respect from other people. As a result, you as parents will also gain a sense of pride in him.

Now the question, how do you teach children character traits?

Being an Example

The best way to ensure that your kid develops a set of good character traits is by being an example. Make sure that you’re qualified to teach them to your kid by showing those positive character traits.

Children are amazing. Starting at the age of four or five, they want to be like their mom and dad. They tend to copy your actions a lot. And that is the moment where you are the living example to your kids.

If you want your kid to be honest, lead by example by doing so, and don’t scold them when they’re showing honesty even though it displeases you.

Any character traits you want your kids to have, make sure that you have them in you in the first place. Only then the kids will follow.

Approve the Positive Character Traits

Whenever you recognize that your kid is showing the right attitudes, words, or actions, make sure you praise your child out loud.

Yes, you’re going to miss a few, but do keep on the lookout. Tell your kid how proud you are, even with a simple note telling him how he handled the situation correctly.

Set Expectations

Families across the world may have different rules and values regarding the character traits they teach to their kids. That is why it is essential to clearly define the character traits you want your kid to develop.

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Set your expectations of what is acceptable and what is not by discussing the values of certain character traits within the family. Experts recommend that this discussion takes place at the weekly dinner table.

Do as You Say

Explaining what you need from your kid isn’t easy. You have to clearly communicate your rules and values with your words and actions. Experts suggest that make your child repeats back what you said and what he thinks you meant can clear up any miscommunication.

As stated before, you need to lead by way of giving examples. If you do not do as you say, you will be giving your child mixed messages. That is when you, as parents, talk to your kids about positive character traits and then show the complete opposite behavior.

Tell Stories

Another great way to help your kid develops positive character traits is by telling stories to them. You may use an influential figure in your culture, religion, or even well-known people like Martin Luther King.

It is an easy way to create a picture inside your kid’s brain about what kind of behaviors and attitudes are good and bad. It also helps children to picture a role model they can live up to.

Some Character Traits of Martin Luther King Jr. For Kids

You can use this free teaching material to help your kid develop some of the positive character traits for kids. It aims to teach your kid the excellent character traits that Martin Luther King Jr. portrayed after learning about him.

These character traits task cards are also a genius way to teach character traits to your kids. Besides, it is a creative activity to learn about Martin Luther King Jr while learning about his positive character traits–determined, assertive, brave, bold, calm, clever, eager, empathetic, faithful, generous, hopeful, heroic, thoughtful, and many more.

The Bottom Line

The most important thing to remember is that preschool kids always want to be like their parents. They copy and imitate your actions and style You are in a possession of the most powerful tool to shape your kid’s character traits and you need to use it wisely.

By giving an example, you don’t need to explain by words. Just let your kids see what you do, and they will copy it immediately. Over time, those character traits you demonstrated will become theirs.

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Elise Schiller
Elise Schillerhttps://www.parenting-hub.com
Elise is the head writer in Parenting Hub. She focuses on early childhood parenting and teenage years. Currently, she also learns about parenting adult children. She enjoys writing and sharing insights regarding child development and mental health.

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