10 Character Trait Activities to Tame your Toddler and Teach Life Lessons

I’ve shared back and forth on here for years that Aden hasn’t been my easiest child. He’s very passionate and strong-willed when he’s got his heart set on something particular. He’s easily distracted and he repeats himself incessantly. Those are just some of his more endearing traits hahahaha Bless his heart he’s the youngest of 5 so he has to be willing to move, change, and dash at the drop of a hat most days. So I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research to work with him on really settling his crazy mind sometimes and coping with life’s ups and downs. In that I found 10 ways we work at home to bring him in the realm of knowing others exist, strength in himself, and keeping an even balance to save my sanity. Let me know if you have any I can add!!!

Yes toddlers may be copying instead of having a *deep* understanding of the character trait, but copying is the basis for many habits.  I feel it is more empowering for children to have good feelings about their actions related to these values, instead of just being told what to do for no reason.  Repetition and giving plenty opportunities to discuss and practice the character traits in everyday situations is all it takes.

I’ve been working on these with my temperamental Aden and they are really showing signs of improvement in his understanding of the natural order of things in the world. It’s almost a lost art really.

2013 aden front porch

Here are 10 easy character building activities for toddlers:

With each of these activities, be sure to use the virtue (bolded) in your conversation so your toddler can learn the word.

Practice the virtue of service by helping your toddler prepare a meal for other family members.

Learn gratitude by playing the “Thank You Game.”  Simply take turns giving things to each other (such as toys or pieces of food) while saying “thank you” each time.

Help your toddler understand responsibility by giving them some responsibilities of their own whenever appropriate, such as putting dishes away or transferring laundry from the basket to the machine.  They may need help for quite a while, but will eventually be able to do some jobs on their own which increases self-confidence as well.

Discuss respect by watching insects and showing how you can be careful not to disturb them.

Role play kindness by taking care of stuffed toys or animal figurines: setting up a home for them, feeding the, bathing them, caring for them if they get hurt.

Put on some soft music and do stretches while taking deep breaths, having your toddler copy you.  Explain how calming our minds and bodies is practicing peacefulness.

Teach courtesy by feeding your toddler a special treat one piece at a time, and requesting they say “please” as they ask for new bites.  Add “thank you” and “you’re welcome” as they master each word.  Have your child divvy out pieces to you, too, to let them have a chance on the “giving” side!

Help your toddler show gentleness by giving them several delicate items to look at and hold, such as pictures in frames or precious jewelry.  As they hold the items, explain how some objects and people (such as babies) require extra gentleness so they are not hurt.

Give your toddler the opportunity to practice generosity by baking a dozen muffins and taking half over to a neighbor.  Let your child hand over the treats, if they wish, but do not worry if they get shy and prefer not to.  As they participate more in the act of giving, they will become more confident with time.

Encourage your toddler to show courage with a new experience you have prepared for them, such as climbing a ladder or playing with the pet of a friend/neighbor.  It is great to give children the opportunity to try new things, but there is no reason to push them if they are not ready.  If they want you to help them you can simply say, “Yes, let’s practice courage together and you can decide if you want to try by yourself next time” as you help them along.  Based on personality, courage may be something that comes naturally to your child, or not.  However all children will need to practice courage at one time or another – whether it is playing with new children at age 3 or standing up to name-calling at age 5 – so it is great to learn the word early on.

Hope this helps your sanity as much as it did mine ❤


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