It is not too late to start from ground zero when it comes to character building in kids. Building character in children can be directly correlated with the development of new habits to replace the old ones. If your children have formed some less than desirable habits, it isn’t too late. Learn how to develop new habits that last and build character in your kids.
Don’t forget to grab our FREE Habit Tracker printable at the bottom of this post.
I was able to enjoy a coffee date with another American lady from the island where I live. We have been talking about it for about a year now, and were actually able to fit it in our schedules. She is just lovely.
We, of course, started talking about homeschooling. She was curious and had some questions. She is a stay-at-home mom but has always sent her kids to traditional school. Mainly for her sanity, and I completely understand that.
She said her kids don’t even let her help them with their homework; they throw fits and don’t want her to help. They are little, maybe like 5 and 6. In witnessing her interact with her kids in the past, I saw that she has some difficulty pulling in the reins with them.
She asked me the dreaded question. How do you deal with it all day?
My honesty isn’t always well placed, but I can’t help it sometimes. I told her that when they were little, I put the fear of God in them. Although we laughed out loud together, this wasn’t too far from the truth.Since the kids were little, I made boundaries with them. I told them what they were to do according to God’s Word and was very rigid on rules. It was nothing crazy, but things like cleaning up after they play with toys, not talking back, obeying right away, not asking for anything when we went to the stores.
I was unwavering when they were little, so now they know their limits and I don’t even have to reinforce those things much at all. Everything I taught them was under the umbrella of knowing we were all under the authority of God and used scripture for the basis of the discipline. Aside from that, I also knew that I needed them to obey for my sanity.
You are not doomed if you haven’t started building character and developing good habits in your children from an early age. If your kids have developed bad habits over the years then with repetition, commitment, and the reinforcement of new habits they can learn a new route in behavior.
It does take time, and it does take your determination, which can be tough when it’s easier to give in. Taking the reins with kids after they have had the reins or at least know how far they can go with them, can be tricky.
Developing new habits in children to build character can be done!
Habit training is one of the most important things you can do to develop good character in your kids and to create a smooth, calm, and peaceful homeschooling environment.
Recommended Resource: We Choose Virtues
Character Coaching Tools for Kids age 3-9. Find the virtue product that is perfect for the kids you teach!
What are some practical things to do right now to develop new habits and build character?
It may seem impossible, especially if you have kids that throw themselves on the ground with fits. I mean, how do you stop that, right? Rewind and start with some of these practical ways to start fresh in developing new habits and build character:
Start small and pick one habit at a time.
You can’t erase years of fits or disobedience in one swoop. Don’t stress yourself but do be intentional. Pick one habit at a time, like making their beds every single morning before even brushing their teeth. Or you may start being consistent about tidying up all homeschool resources/books at the end of the homeschool day.
I learned this “making the bed in the morning” lesson while living with some friends years ago. A caveat about living in their home was that I had to make my bed every morning. It really did wonders and helped me begin my day on the right note.
Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget. It’s not that a tidy bed causes better grades or less frivolous spending. But somehow those initial shifts start chain reactions that help other good habits take hold. –
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
Use a reward system and positive feedback.
I see the look in my son’s eyes when I praise him for a job well done. Once you are training your child to develop new habits, be sure to reward the habit or make it a point to give positive affirmation once the job is complete.
Charting your child’s progress with visual cues displayed on the wall in your homeschool area can motivate a child to continue their new learned behaviors or actions. Charting your child’s progress encourages their success and helps them know precisely where they stand or where they need to get to. Sticker charts are an excellent motivator for most children.
I used charts and stickers often as an early learning educator. The kids can put up their own stickers on the progress chart as they earn them.
Learn the “don’ts” of developing new habits.
Don’t rush. It has been said it takes anywhere from 2 months to 8 months to truly break a habit.
Don’t raise your voice. This is not a debate. The Lord also has numerous things to say about being quick to anger.
Don’t bargain or bribe.
Don’t give conditions.
Don’t punish your child for being a child. My son is super active and has a short attention span. I often must discern whether he just forgets to do something or if he is intentionally disobeying me. More often than not, his mind is just going a million miles an hour.
All of these “don’ts” are counterproductive to lasting change.
Be prepared for your child’s rebellion/reluctance.
Know that your kids do not like change. They also do not like to be disciplined; it’s in our nature to rebel. Know that resistance may come. Therefore, know what to do before it happens. Plan how you will react. Know to stay calm and be firm. Stick to it.
Teaching your kids a new habit has as much to do with your commitment to developing it, as it does for your child to learn it.
It isn’t the easiest, even for us as parents, to be committed and stick to helping our kids develop new habits. Life happens, and sometimes we let things slip by us. However, doing that too many times may bring you and your child back to the drawing board. Be prepared and remember His mercies are new every morning.
Using a weekly habit tracker can help you and child develop new habits that stick, reward good behavior, work on character traits, and exchange those bad habits for good ones.
Grab this FREE Weekly Habit Tracker for your home to start training your child in the way they should go when it comes to good habits and building their character. The Weekly Habit Tracker comes in black/white, purple/pink, and blue.
Get started today with developing new habits and building character in your kids with this instant download.
Track Your Children’s Habits and Character with this FREE Habit Tracker!
Download our FREE Habit Tracker to help you:
- Get new habits to stick
- Reward good behavior
- Exchange bad habits for good habits
- Work on character traits
Add in your weekly habit goals and specify a reward, grab some stickers (or just color in or X off each day) and watch your children become excited about working on their new habits.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!