It’s back-to-school or back-to-homeschool time. Even though this is typically a busy time for families, I think it’s important to give some thought to your kids’ character. Do you have ways to specifically focus on character development as part of your children’s normal week?
Here are some helpful resources:
For Any Parents
Many people, including me, like to use quotations as inspiration and as starting points for discussion for elementary-age and up. I love quotes and have a word-art quotation freebie each Wednesday. I only use quotes that promote positive values.
Character Counts always has lots of great resources for parents and teachers. Character Counts uses the six pillars of character as a foundation: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.
Character Education Network has resources for any parents.
Books like The Book of Virtues are wonderful for character education. When my kids were young, we also read lots of biographies about people with positive character traits.
I have a post on How to Help Your Kids Have an Attitude of Gratitude and other posts on character with links to many resources.
For Sports Parents
Sports can be a wonderful means of character development – if winning isn’t the only goal. While you as a parent can hope your child’s coach and teammates are encouraging good character, you can’t guarantee that.
You can guarantee that you’ll work to help your child develop good character through sports. There are lots of tools online to help coaches, but I want to focus specifically on resources that can help you as a parent.
I’ve always liked the Positive Coaching Alliance. Be sure to check out its free tips and tools for parents.
Positive Coaching Alliance also powers the Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports Program, which has lots of free tools for responsible sports parenting including resources in the Responsible Sports Parenting Toolkit. I like its emphasis on the ELM (Effort, Learning, and Mistakes) tree of mastery:
“At the start of the season, let your children know that:
You will always be proud of them as long as they give 100% effort (regardless of the outcome on the scoreboard).
You want them to constantly strive to learn and improve. This involves them comparing their own past performance to their own current performance (i.e. Are they better than they were two weeks ago?).
Mistakes are an inevitable part of the game. If they are giving 100% and trying new things (as they strive to improve), mistakes are bound to occur, and the best players are those who find ways to quickly bounce back from mistakes.
Teams that focus on giving their full effort, constantly learning and improving, and bouncing back from mistakes, actually win more than teams who consistently focus on the scoreboard.
You want your child to focus on the ELM Tree of Mastery (Effort, Learning and Mistakes) because players who do this well are less anxious during competition and have a greater sense of confidence in themselves and their abilities.”
Here are two articles I wrote for parents: Don’t Forget These Two Words before a Competition Performance and Don’t Forget the Three Most Important Words before a Competition Performance.
For Homeschoolers (and Anyone Interested in Further Study)
If you’re a homeschooler, check out the Character Counts Character Education Lesson Plan Bank with character-education lessons for preschoolers through teens. Character Counts Week is October 16-22. There are lots of free resources available simply by registering.
Montessori education with its emphasis on grace and courtesy is a great method for character development. Montessori education was a very important part of my children’s early character training. A number of Montessori teachers teach grace and courtesy on Fridays. You could devote extra time on Friday (or another day) to teaching grace and courtesy.
KONOS isn’t free but has character-based unit studies. We used KONOS in our homeschooling: How We Homeschooled.
Free Homeschool for Kids has links to character education resources.
Lifestyle Homeschool has ideas for character education.
Homeschool Share has a number of resources for building character.
I’d love to hear what resources you use or what you do to help develop your kids’ character!