Give character awards
Let siblings put a
character award for
each in a bowl to be
read at mealtime.
Let siblings draw
pictures of someone
"The foundations of
must be laid in
Ways to reward good
character at home
Help for parents!
Check out the Just for
Kids pages on this
Click here for more
resources for families
Click here for tips on
quality to your
Siblings will be jealous
if one is praised for
talent. Praising for
siblings to work on it
Everyone has equal
ability to build good
Much like the wood carver working on a carving, parents are shaping the habits of their children daily.
A wood carver knows exactly which pieces of wood need to be chiseled out of the block of wood to
achieve the desired shape. In the same way, parents chisel out undesired behavior in their children at
a young age and help them develop good habits that form beautiful character within. Children left to
themselves will never know what is right until they see it demonstrated and taught.
To create a masterpiece, parents must have a plan to form character in their children's lives.
"You made great
grades this year!"
"You were so diligent
this year with your
"Way to go! You played
a great game tonight!"
"You showed such
deference in your
Thank you for thinking
of your team members
first and playing hard
when you felt like
- First, they must learn to hold character in high esteem themselves.
- They must build and model character in their own lives.
- When they fail, they must ask forgiveness of their children.
"The early experiences of
home become a moral
compass point, guiding and
instructing us for the rest of
--Wm. J. Bennett
Character qualities should be a regular topic of conversation. One might hear comments
such as: "Did you notice how honest Jason was when he returned that dollar bill to the girl
that dropped it?" or "Samuel sure was diligent in helping his dad clean up the yard!"
Meal times are a good time to ask about character observations from the day and to
positively affirm the children for good character in action during the day. Siblings can even
be encouraged to award each other for good character shown during the day.
Posters and books about character should be displayed and available in the home.
Punishment and reward should be based on character.
A mother crab and her
son went scurrying over
the sand. The mother
chastised her child:
"Stop walking sideways!
It's much more becoming
to stroll straightforward."
And the young crab
replied: "I will, Mother
dear, just as soon as I
see how. Show me the
straight way, and I'll walk
in it behind you."
Second, they must develop a "culture" of character in their homes.
Some families choose to study a different character quality each month, using the character
materials available through this website and other resources.
The children can role play the quality and its negative opposite.
The family can study the animal analogy and historical figure that exemplifies the quality.
Children can memorize the "I will" statements, character definition, and rhythmic poem about
the character quality.
Children can enjoy the fun work sheets on the quality of the month on the "Just for Kids" pages
on this website.
Children can enjoy the Character First website that presents the character qualities with
stories, songs, and games.
Parents should evaluate the influences in their children's lives by the grid of good character and
replace any bad exam- ples with ones modeling and teaching good character. Asking the question,
"Is this object, activity, or person demonstrating the kind of character I want my children to have?"
will often result in parents realizing the need to change the entertainment, activities, and peer
influences in the home.
Parents can begin to punish and reward their children for character, rather than for failures or
When one child in a family is praised for accomplishments or talents, the other children can
Not all children are equally talented, but all children have an equal ability to develop good
Discipline should always be done in love, not anger.
The lack of a particular character quality causing the bad behavior should be discussed with
Parents will want to determine which character qualities need to be encouraged in their children's
lives. Most wrong behavior can be linked to a missing character quality. For instance--
-Angela, who is constantly putting down a sibling, is lacking in respect.
- Jimmy, who is constantly getting sent to the principle's office, is likely lacking in obedience
- Sally, who is whining and complaining anytime she has to wait her turn for something, is
lacking in patience.
- Johnny, who doesn't put away his toys now because he lacks responsibility, won't put his
tools away when he is older because he still lacks responsibility. And he may lose his job
because of it!
A child who is taught character at a young age will reap rewards of success in adult life.
When needed qualities are identified, then deliberate action and training should take place in the
child's daily home activities. For instance, when doing the dishes, the child can be taught that doing
that chore is a way to show gratefulness to the mom for cooking dinner. Or, thoroughness can be
taught with statements such as, "Tonight as we do the dishes we are going to do a thorough job and
make sure we don't miss one single spot of food on these dishes." Doing chores can also highlight
character qualities such as orderliness, diligence, responsibility and carefulness.
Finally, the most powerful tool in chiseling character into a person's life is that of proper praise.
Wrong praise brings pride and limits the further development of a person's talents. Parents tend to
praise their children for knowledge, beauty, accomplish- ment, talent or position. However, when a
parent praises a child for a character quality, he or she is encouraging the child to develop more of
that quality, which will then cause the child to make the most of the talents and abilities the child
has. Proper praise does much more to develop long term benefits when it is given for good
Why not choose to become a character family?
Homes are not meant to be battlegrounds, but places where families truly enjoy and care for one
another. It is character that creates that kind of environment. When the pressures of life and the
weakness of human nature surface in the home, character will keep harmony and ensure that
healthy relationships will continue for a lifetime of happy and productive family life.