Positive Character Traits for Kids

By Jude McLean

As parents, guardians, teachers, and carers, we all want our children to grow up to succeed in life. For them to do this, we need to instill specific character traits that will not only lead them down the right path but ultimately encourage our children to become great well-rounded members of society.




There are many ways in which we can encourage our children to develop such positive character traits, and, no matter what age your child may be, it’s never too early or even too late to introduce such concepts.

Here are eight of the most essential character traits that you can encourage your child to develop.

  1. Respect

All children need to be taught to respect everyone regardless of age, sex, race, and appearance. Without this crucial characteristic, we add to the current lack of it, which already resides heavily in society. Crucially, without understanding what it means to be respectful, a child will never be successful, happy, and liked – more than likely becoming an angry and ill-informed adult as a result.

Children learn about respect by watching others. Therefore, think about how you display respect to other people such as friends, colleagues, authority figures, service staff, and educators, for example. Ultimately, look at how you respect yourself and of course your child. We can’t expect a child to offer respect if they’re never given any in return.

  1. Honesty

There will be times when children tell the occasional white lie, and this is part of growing up, unfortunately! However, when looking at the broader picture, an honest individual will become a happier one than those who lie, cheat, and talk their way out of scenarios as they go through life.

Therefore, if you ask your child at an early age to tell you the truth but you know they are indeed lying to you, consider changing your response. The key here is to make sure that your child doesn’t fear the punishment that could come after lying.

  1. Compassion

It costs nothing to be kind and develop empathy for others. Displaying compassion allows you to relate better and make meaningful friendships and relationships, long-term.

Encourage your child to talk about their emotions and don’t be tempted to brush aside problematic issues such as grief. Allow them to see you getting emotional, rather than forcing them to develop a stiff upper lip. A child can only show compassion when they understand and respect other people’s feelings.

  1. Resilience

All children need to develop a persistent attitude and not give up at the first hurdle. This means pushing through those harder times.

In a society where most children are repeatedly told there are only winners and all games must be made fair rather than competitive, it’s easy for some to lose that drive to work harder. However, out in the adult world, they have no choice other than to compete.

Set goals for them and allow them to fail on the odd occasion, showing them each time that you can indeed get back up and keep going to reach your intended target.

  1. Optimism

A life without hope is a miserable one. So, if your child can develop positivity when facing most obstacles, they form a more cheerful disposition, allowing them to approach challenges more effectively.

Optimistic people are a joy to be around, and though we can’t always expect our children to remain cheerful every single day of their life, by encouraging this trait we ensure they face their fears and challenges with a better mindset.

Use the analogy of the glass is half full whenever you can, and work at keeping your child’s spirits up, even when things get tough.

  1. Courage

Children often lack courage when they try something new or when they just don’t feel comfortable enough when moving out of their comfort zone.

By encouraging them to stand up for what they believe in and what they do intelligently, you empower them to speak up and speak out.

Get them to use their words, knowledge, and facts, and they are more likely to question and stand up for themselves when they feel they are being challenged or mistreated or whenever something is wrong. They will also feel confident when finding themselves in new scenarios and environments.

  1. Patience

In this on-demand, want it yesterday society, most children will get their requests dealt with in no time at all. However, this click of the fingers and it shall appear attitude will not serve your child well when they enter adulthood.

There will be many times when they can’t get what they want or when they must wait their turn. The issue here is how they choose to deal with it in the meantime.

Encourage those scenarios in which your child must show patience, for example waiting their turn or saving money to get a toy, getting them to see how the world will not end because they’ve had to wait!

  1. Humility

A child taught to be humble in their approach will forever be thankful as an adult to all those people who helped them get to where they are in life.

No one wants to be around an arrogant achiever who believes they did it all on their own. This suggests they’ll never be thankful to anyone who offers continued support and guidance.

Regularly remind your child to be grateful for every person who teaches them valuable lessons, as well as those who do things for them. Encourage them to offer thanks to those teachers, friends, and family members who go out of their way to make a lasting impression.

Building Character Takes Time

If you’ve encouraged your child to develop the many characteristics mentioned above, these traits will soon become second nature to them. This means one happy, content, kind, and well-adjusted individual people will enjoy being around.

Remember, this is all a steep learning curve, and they will, along with your help and encouragement, get there in the end. Therefore, it’s fundamental you avoid things like spanking and practice positive forms of discipline, like natural consequences.

You are your child’s number one role model. So if you really want them to start displaying such characteristics and grow up to become the adult you want them to be, make sure you practice what you preach.