As a new parent of an infant or a toddler, life can be all consuming. There’s the feeding, the changing, the cleaning and so on. Who has the time to look into the future to list child characteristics that your little one will need to develop to be a successful big one?
Everyone has character traits, a list of unique qualities, even you. How did you develop them? How could you remember? You were too young, and it was so gradual you wouldn’t have noticed.
One thing is for certain, you had influences in your environment that helped mould you. Most likely your mom and dad, or a primary care giver who raised you, but not necessary. It could also be someone who was prominent and around a lot during those formative years, a grandma, an aunt or family friend.
In fact, one of the determinations a Harvard study made was that close relationships with other nurturing and reliably available adults do not interfere with the strength of a young child’s primary relationship with his or her parents. In fact, multiple caregivers can promote young children’s social and emotional development.
You get the picture. The point is, it has come full circle and now YOU are the influencer. Now your character traits… and your negative character traits, have a chance to imprint in your little bundle of joy, and… may last a lifetime.
Like you cannot treat an old dog new tricks, you can’t take your 5 year old back to the drawing board and start over. Luckily I have a list of character traits for kids that are worth paying attention to and encouraging.
10 Key Characteristics of a Child
1. Social Skills
Social engagement for an infant is important and clearly gets more important as the child develops. In some cases it can be make or break for success in life so it’s important to develop appropriate social skills.
Children with good social skills do better at school, think better of themselves and resolve conflicts much more efficiently. Some children are born naturally outgoing and filled with charm necessary to succeed in social circles.
Some children find these circumstances challenging. While playing with other children can ensure improvement, activities that teach body language such as charades or learning to read facial expressions can soften the invisible barrier of uncomfortability.
Being creative is not only drawing a picture, or building things out of blocks. It’s about doing anything really using your imagination and seeing what you create with your own expression.
Outside of what a child may do at school, they should be encouraged to try a wide variety of activities, singing, playing instruments, theatre, drawing, painting or sculpture. All types of sports like golf, baseball and football. Explore outdoor and indoor adventure from hiking to visiting museums.
Encouraging creativity in children will benefit them in other ways as well, by building their communications skills, and improving their cognitive abilities such as problem-solving, and developing their emotional development.
A child’s curiosity can be very overwhelming at times. It can be very tempting to stifle it, but it is a characteristic that should be encouraged. Many of the world’s leading inventors and entrepreneurs point to their natural curiosity as the roots of their successes.
It has been said curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect. Curiosity can make learning more interesting, resulting in more active rather than passive thinking, which is great for the brain.
Dr. Bruce D. Perry, M.D., PH.D. said “For too many children, curiosity fades, curiosity dimmed is a future denied.”
To encourage your children’s curiosity is to teach them new things and bring them new places. Continually ask them new questions about the world around them to keep them interested.
Life can be tough, even for kids. Everyone needs a certain level of resilience to get by when the times get tough. When kids learn to be resilient, they are much better equipped to face the difficulties and even trauma life may serve them.
It is very tempting to try to shield children from painful experiences, but if they are taught resilience they will be much better off in the future. If your child is having problems at school or with other children, instead of pretending it’s not an issue, work through it together and show how to work through the problem.
If parents can help put the child s problems in perspective they may not seem as insurmountable.
Typically it isn’t until a child does something dishonest until talks of integrity arise. It is better the child understands what this characteristic is before such ethical questions are faced.
Discussing your family values and asking your child what they would do if faced with ethical dilemmas, such as seeing a friend steal from another child, or cheat in a game. Talk through these questions to prepare for future experiences.
Finding solutions for problems… or resourcefulness, is a characteristic the businesses covet in employees and can be developed in childhood. In many developed countries where most, if not all of their needs are met, there’s not much call for a child to be resourceful.
With the internet and fancy apps, coupled with cutting edge technology, all at the finger tips, it’s very convenient, but doesn’t promote resourcefulness in children.
To help your child learn resourcefulness try some activities, out-of-the-box by todays standards. Go to the recycling box and re-purpose plastic bottles or egg cartons into something useful. Go outside a gather pine cones, sticks or leaves and make crafts.
A study conducted by Harvard University’s Making Caring Common Project, 80 percent of children surveyed said they valued achievement or happiness, over caring for others. Those same children were more likely to agree that there parents cared more if they received good grades rather than being a good community member.
It is as important to instill a natural sense of empathy and caring for others in your children, as getting good grades in school. Not only is raising more empathetic children good for the community as a whole, it will help them be more emotionally intelligent and be more successful in life.
Whenever possible treat your children with warmth and empathy to teach them this characteristic. Try to connect feelings, thoughts and behaviours. Also, when talking about feelings, connect behaviour with the feelings for children so that they understand cause and effect.
Somewhere between being too aggressive and overly timid is where you find assertiveness. Some characteristics of assertiveness are insight, tolerance, wisdom, acceptance and confidence. Teach assertiveness by showing children how to identify their own feelings, speak up for themselves, avoid and respond to bullying.
Having a positive self-esteem and remaining humble can be a very difficult balance to learn for a child, and for an adult! It can be challenging ensuring humility when todays parenting culture is all about praise and validation. Kids who lack humility grow up to be arrogant adults.
Humility can exist with positive self-esteem and confidence. When a child is self-assured and doesn’t feel inferior there isn’t the need to brag about talents and achievements.
Teaching humility is about walking the walk. If you don’t know the answer or made a mistake, own up to it. Give credit to others and encourage your child to do the same.
Experts say having positive self-esteem has a strong correlation to good behaviour and happiness, so teaching a child to have confidence is important. There are distinct parallels between how a child feels about themselves and the way they act. It is vital to discipline, to raise a confident child.
Experts suggest realistically praising your child (constant and excessive praise is not effective) and commend positive behaviour, and as Dr, Phil says… “You don’t reward bad behaviour!”
You came to the right place if you wanted to list child characteristics that are key to a successful life. As your little ones personality grows you will be able to see the strong and weak points. It is wonderful to let the flower blossom as it may, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to pull a few weeds or add a little more water along the way.
I hope you found this article helpful in any way. Please leave you questions, comments or experiences below for us all to enjoy.