In my post on homeschool burnout, I mentioned how character was an important part of educating your child. While I believe character is quite often more “caught than taught,” I also believe children are inherently foolish and need guidance and reinforcement. That’s where a Habit Chart can be very helpful.
Habit Charts are a simple tool I use whenever I want my children to learn a new skill or work on a certain behavior. (They are even helpful for moms to work on habits of their own!)
The easiest way to work on specific character traits is to focus on one at a time. Write the character trait you feel your child needs the most help with at the top of the Habit Chart. Give the child a solid definition of that character trait (see reference section at the end of this post to find links to character studies and definitions) Tell them every square on the chart equals a day and you are looking for ways they show that character trait.
Every day they display that trait – even once – you mark with a sticker or a check-mark or other such notation. Remind them often about the character trait they are working on. You will probably find they will come to you and proudly tell you of things they have done to display their character trait. That is ok too! Encourage them to actively seek ways to live out their character trait. Practice, practice, practice!
I’m going to state the obvious here – you don’t want to teach one character trait to the exclusivity of all others. Continue to infuse your child’s life with all honorable and godly traits while you steadily work on the ones they struggle with the most.
Also, I would encourage you to have each of your children work on a different trait (which shouldn’t be difficult considering every child is different and will have unique struggles). I’ve found that things become too competitive and soon miss the point if everyone is trying to display the same trait. And of course, don’t feel compelled to have every one one of your children using a habit chart at the same time. This could be a bit overwhelming for mom!
Fruit of the Spirit Devotional for Little Ones from Raising Arrows & Mama’s Learning Corner
Biblical Character Training Resources from Doorposts
KONOS Homeschool Curriculum (their original Elementary 3 book set is based on character traits)
Joyful Heart Character Curriculum for 4-6 year olds
Character Study Notebooking Set from Notebooking Pages
What good character habits are working toward in your home?