Character Development In Children
The most basic definition of character development is an approach to education that instills values, ethics, emotional maturity and a sense of civics in children as education is not only about learning subjects such as math and English.
A more comprehensive definition of education addresses the emotions, personality, and character as well. The concept of character development especially in formal school settings is still virgin in some societies, and is gradually gaining popularity, as there is beginning to be a deep popular understanding that the moral development of children begins in their first year of life.
Brain development research thus shows that the first five years of a child’s life are a critical period in which to build the foundation for children’s social-emotional well-being. It is safe to say that character development is the basis for personal growth. Good character traits such as self-esteem, confidence, courage, resilience, integrity, and forgiveness are examples of traits that can sustain children at home, at school, and in the community at large.
Developing Good Character in Children Starts Early
Emotional intelligence which is an extension of character development is influenced early on by children’s interactions with parents and caregivers. Children as young as 6 months old can begin demonstrating outward signs of budding empathy skills. it is however imperative that early educators and child care providers support parents in nurturing their children’s social-emotional development for later success.
Why Character Development Must Start Early
It is important to know that qualities of character develop through an interplay of family, school, and community influences coupled with a child’s individual temperament, experiences, and choices. Parents have many opportunities and tools to build their children’s character, using them will give you the joy and satisfaction of seeing your kids grow into people of integrity and compassion.
A Father’s Role
A child’s character is first formed in the family and one of the influences will be the parenting pattern that has been shown by his or her parents. A father’s role in molding the character of his child is something that has been taken lightly in so many communities today especially in several African societies. A father role starts early in life and not later.
Father’s active involvement in the character formation of their child/children informs a healthy building of their emotional health, overall wellness, social development and self-respect.
Studies has also shown that when fathers are more involved from infancy, their kids are less likely to show symptoms of mental health problems. Fathers who respond calmly when their children misbehave or get upset raise boys who are less aggressive and girls who are less negative with their friends. Fathers who are conciously involved in the lives of their daughters at a young age, raise girls that are at less risk for early puberty, early sexual experiences and teen pregnancy.
We can thus safely say that fathers are not just merely the second adult in homes. They are infact one parents that can greatly influence the character of their child/children from infancy through adulthood.
Childhood is the most important time in a person’s life because that is when parents in the family are obliged to build noble character values that will be the basis of his personality in days to come. Mothers play a major role in their children’s lives; caring for them, loving them, teaching them, and so much more.
Just like the role a father plays, a mother also contribute vastly in coining the character of their child/children in every home.
In so many societies, especially in Africa’s, the character a child exudes at any stage of development is quickly attributed to the mother, not minding where a particular character trait is picked up from. When a child exhibits a strong and positive character, it is said that the mother did a very good job, and if the reverse is the case, the mother will be blamed.
A mother is the first person to know and connect with her child. Even after birth, a mother is the first care-giver to her child/children. The way she interacts with her child during the early months and years of life leaves a deep impact on the child, it will reflect in the social and emotional disposition of the child in later years.
Mothers teach their children how to trust and be trustworthy. They instill the sense of security in their young ones. Every mother is an agent for instilling the sense of being loving, kind, considerate, caring and thoughtful. A mother can teach her child through her actions, deeds and words
How Parents Can Influence Positive Character Development
- Be a good role model.
- Speak the language of love to your children through your actions; such as constant hugs and persistent communication.
- Be a safe haven for your children. Children raised by parents who respond consistently will have a better social and emotional development.
- Always talk with your children, as this helps their brain integrate. When different parts of the brain are integrated, they function harmoniously and this leads to more co-ordinated behaviour and empathy.
- Consciously improve on your own well-being. Take good care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. Take time to strengthen your relationship with your spouse or companion because if these areas fail, your child will suffer too.
Some Age Appropriate Chores For Children Age 1-4 Years
Through studies and practice, it has been discovered that children as little as 12 months can run some household chores. However the outline below are merely guidelines as your child(ren) can do more or less. Every child is unique and develop at their own pace, these are merely ideas to try out in your home.
1-2 Years Old
- Picking up toys and putting them in the toy box after play
- Putting clothes in the wash basket
- Handing pillows to mom when making the bed
- Running simply errands like throwing things in the trash, bringing the diaper!
- Wiping up small spills with little napkins
2-4 Years Old
- Begin to dress self
- Help open up blinds every morning
- Put silverware in dishwasher
- Help make bed
- Help wipe up spills
- Pick up toys
- Dry unbreakable dishes
- Hang clothing on hooks
- Carry laundry to and from laundry area
- Help fold clothes
- Fetch diapers
- Carry plate to the sink after meals
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Like has been stated before, character development in children is something that should begin early for every child. It is a process that requires alot of love, patience and consistency from parents, guardians and educators. No child should be exempted, as benefits will strengthen a person’s emotional and social disposition. I hope this piece really informs and educates everyone that reads.