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9 Character Traits Your Child Needs at School

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There are 9 character traits that will help your child be successful at school. Unfortunately, many kids are only known for just being a “character.” Sadly, there is a big difference between the two.

As a teacher and mom, I have run across a few “characters.” Let me tell you, they are no fun to teach or be around as they ruin everyone else’s time together. In fact, they leave a stink behind them when they exit the room. And I’m not talking about smelly tennis shoes…

These kids do not like to listen, they are proud, act lazy, lie, and are sometimes defiant. On the other hand, a child who is respectful, kind, and obedient leaves a sort of sweet aroma. These kinds of kids are a joy to be around all the time.

My question to you is, “Does your child leave a sweet aroma or stink (figuratively) when he exits the room?” Your goal is to raise a child whose name does not stink. Well, hopefully they don’t stink. Period. 

In this post, I am going to give you the 9 character traits your child needs to be successful at school. Heads up! You need to start teaching them now.

Children dressed up as clowns and text overlay above.

9 Character Traits Your Child Needs to be Successful at School

1. Good Attitude

Your child needs to have a good attitude about everything. I’m not saying he can’t express his feelings, but it needs to be treated as a privilege. Otherwise, your child will try to talk you out of whatever you want him to do. Not good.

When your child is young, he needs to accept your decisions without a lot of fanfare. Example: nap time,  meal time, bath time, or clean up. No whining, fussing or stalling. Delayed obedience is really disobedience. 

As he ages, he can be allowed to express his disappointment respectfully and ask for reconsideration. But in the end, he needs to accept your decision without any attitude.

If you have a teen, you are probably laughing right now. I know this is a tall order.

A consistently good attitude may not happen until your child is older. Even then…well, you know. Just keep giving consequences when he acts out. And praise when he gets it right. Eventually, he will learn.

A good attitude in the classroom is heaven for a teacher. Start teaching this early so he will be ready when school starts. And don’t let up. A bad attitude can develop at any given time.

And by the way, how is your attitude? If yours is bad, don’t expect your child’s attitude to be much better. Stinky attitudes are hereditary.

Related: Do You Hate Teen Tantrums? 5 Ways to Cope 

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9 Most Important Character Qualities Your Child Needs to Be Successful

2. Hard Work

Teach your child how to work hard. Give her chores to do every day or almost every day. Nothing oppressive, but enough to understand she needs to contribute to the family.

This can start as early as preschool. Teach her how to clean up after herself when she leaves the room. In later years, you can have your child clean the bathroom, do laundry, mow the lawn, or help with dishes.

Your child will need to transfer this work ethic to the classroom. Good students work hard to achieve their goals.

Related: 25 Things You Must Do to be a Good Parent

 

3. Accept Personal Responsibility

When your child does something wrong, teach him to make amends immediately. Not only apologize for what was said or done but make reparations, if necessary. Remember that broken window? Have him work it off or help fix it!

If you let him get away with things at home, he will expect to do the same thing at school. He will be in for a rude awakening when his teacher won’t let him have recess or some other consequence because he can’t admit he was wrong, apologize, and make amends.

This is how bullying starts. Kids who do not understand how their behavior affects others will hurt others. Teach empathy! Your child is not God, so don’t let him act like it at home.

Related: Raising Boys: The Most Important Thing to Do as a Parent

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4. Teachable

Being teachable is one of the most important character traits your child needs to be successful at school. It is the gateway to all learning. If your child will not receive instruction, then he will not learn. This is miserable for a teacher.  

You may be wondering how to help your child be more teachable before he goes to school. Put him in situations that will exercise this muscle. Work on math skills, reading, letters, sitting quietly, counting, obedience, etc.

And make sure to constantly praise for good behavior.

Don’t avoid conflict. Embrace each power struggle as an opportunity for your child to develop life long skills that he needs to be successful. Just know you are going to need lots of patience.

It will pay off when he is in the classroom. He will receive instructions without any problem and get his work done quickly.

Related: 37 Easy Ways to Help Your Child be School-Ready

 

5. Forgiveness

Your child needs to not only be able to ask for forgiveness, but he also needs to learn how to forgive others.  If your child is constantly angry, find out why.

Help him to work through his feelings and show him how to release it to God. Perhaps someone is truly violating your child’s boundaries. Once you know, you can help him work through the situation appropriately.

Whatever the reason, don’t let it go. Nip it in the bud.

When kids don’t forgive, grudges manifest over time. It can last for years and play out in horrible ways at school, on the field, or in another location. Kids die over grudges.

Related: How to Forgive Those Who Have Hurt You and Let Go of the Past

 

6. Faith in God

Teach your child about God. If you do not give her a moral compass, then she will make herself to be god in the future. It may not be that big of a deal when she is three, but a tween or teenager who thinks she is god is a disaster.

I have seen this many times as a teacher. Same scenario, different child. Same outcome. 

Start when she is young. Take her to church, read the Bible to her, pray together, and talk about your own faith.

If you don’t have faith, then you will not be able to pass down your faith to the next generation. Instead, it will be something like, “Whatever you feel is right.” Feelings change by the hour, whereas God’s word is always the same.

Your child needs more than feelings to get through school. She needs a Savior.

Related: Teen Entitlement: 3 Areas of Conflict

 

7. Love

Teach your child to love well. Help him to be kind and loving in all of his actions. Don’t let him get away with being rude, hitting, spitting, or kicking others or things. Give consequences when this happens.

Love him unconditionally, and he will learn what love looks like from you. If you are constantly yelling, threatening, or scaring your child, he will not know how to love others well.

Your child will need a spirit of love to overcome some of the hard things he will experience at school. Kids are mean. He will need God’s love to see the truth and not retaliate when in pain.

Related: Do You Yell at Your Children?

 

8. Tell the Truth

Teach your child to tell the truth. It is one of the most important character traits your child needs to learn to be successful at school.

Kids lie. That is a fact. Your job is to deal with the behavior early.

Many parents think it is cute and funny, but it is not. If you don’t catch it, then it will turn into a habit. A very bad habit.

Liars eventually get caught. And many times, the consequences are bad. Teach your child to tell the truth no matter how small it is. His life will be so much easier if he learns this before he goes to school.

 

9. Respect Authority

Teach your child to respect authority.

It starts with your authority.

Require your child to obey what you say. If she ignores you, it will transfer to others such as teachers, the principal, dean of students, employer, and the law.

If you ask your child to do something, be prepared for non-compliance.

Have a plan in place so that when it happens you don’t make idle threats. Follow through with the consequences and praise for obedience.

Respect includes not only you but property, others, and even herself. Again, it is important you model the same behavior. If you don’t respect others, the law, or yourself then how can your child?

This one problem seems to get more kids in trouble.

Our schools would be totally different if kids respected authority.

Related: Raising Boys: The Most Important Thing to Do as a Parent

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9 Character Qualities Your Child Needs to Be Successful on School Leave a Legacy with Good Character Traits

Your child is your legacy. He reflects you and your family. This is not to make you panic and demand perfection. It is to make you aware of your responsibility to do things right.

What you do or don’t do makes a difference in the life of your child. I understand it requires an enormous amount of patience and time, but it is worth it.

You can do this!

Work on these 9 character qualities before school starts and keep working on them as your child ages. One day you may be pleasantly surprised your child is a joy to you and others.

Even sweet smelling. But the tennis shoes…that may be a hopeless cause. 

“It’s clear that teaching character and essential skills in schools has the potential to have a real impact on outcomes for pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged homes.” – Kevan Collins, chief executive Educational Endowment Foundation

What character traits do you think are important to teach your child?

 

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Get Creating Family Memories for FREE in exchange for your email. If you get this book, it will help you build a good relationship with your kids so that when the hard times come (teen years), you will be able to weather the storm.

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23 Comments

  1. Teri on May 1, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Such wisdom in here. Also, I think so many folks are not intentionally teaching these things anymore. So good!i pinned.

    • Julie Plagens on June 13, 2019 at 6:23 am

      Teri, I agree. We have lost so many of our values as a society, and it is reflected in our youth. Their are still lots of families that want to do things right though.

  2. Mz_Ola on May 1, 2019 at 8:36 am

    These are character qualities that even i, as an adult still need to make visible to others. I mean, I can’t teach my kids what i don’t already portray.

    • Julie Plagens on June 13, 2019 at 6:24 am

      You are so wise. We have to display good character if we want to pass it down to the next generation. Thanks for sharing your comments.

  3. taylorvandebergco on March 20, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Wow, I totally agree with all of these!!

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Taylor, I am so glad you agree with the 9 character qualities your child needs to be successful at school.

  4. Katie on March 18, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    These are all great qualities to have- not only as a child, but for adults too.

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Katie, you are so right. We all need these 9 character qualities to be successful!

  5. Tina Truelove on March 18, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Yes! These are definitely great character qualities to have. As a mother and former teacher, I have found that a child who is “teachable” will accomplish much in life. If a child (or adult for that matter) is teachable, then those other qualities will be acquired in time.

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 12:54 pm

      Tina, you are so right. I am glad you agree on the 9 character qualities your child needs to be successful at school. I always love it when a teacher comments. Thanks!

  6. Terra Lewis-Smith on March 18, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Thank you for this… I really needed this today. My 3rd child is having a hard time in school. I will be doing more of these suggestions. Great read.

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 12:55 pm

      Terra, I truly hope this will help you. It is amazing how character qualities are the tools to help a child learn. Thanks for your comment.

  7. POOVANESH PATHER on March 18, 2019 at 8:01 am

    Great post. As a former teacher, I agree that character of kids is really important in the classroom. The willingness to work hard seems to be lacking in kids today. One reason is that we parents have busy lives so we tend to everything for our kids. Parents need to work to grow good character in their kids.

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 12:57 pm

      Poovanesh, you are so right! I can’t believe how many parents do their child’s work. It doesn’t help the child. Thanks for your comment. I always love hearing from you.

  8. Mary on March 18, 2019 at 7:36 am

    Great post. I pinned it for later reference as well. I think all of these points are so important and unfortunately are not always the norm. #3 especially spoke to me. I think that one goes to everyone because they are adults still not applying that.

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 12:59 pm

      Mary, I agree. Accepting personal responsibility is not easy. It means swallowing pride and accepting consequences for things not done. Thanks for your comment.

  9. Madi Rowan on March 17, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    I know kids in college that could benefit from this advice!! I think as soon as a child learns character qualities like these, the better off they are!

    -Madi xo | https://www.everydaywithmadirae.com

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 1:00 pm

      Madi, you are so right! I know adults who could use these tips. In fact, these 9 character qualities your child needs to be successful at school can help anyone!

  10. Christy Kinney on March 17, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    As a teacher and a mother, your post is right on point! I’ve been working with a student all year that has not been taught these character traits, and it’s been nearly impossible to help at school when home destroys everything we do. I pray this student does not follow the road I’m afraid he will.

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 1:01 pm

      Christy, I feel your frustration. I see this over and over again. Families don’t always reinforce good character so it is hard to move forward with an unteachable child. Thanks for your comment.

  11. Jenna on March 17, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Accepting personal responsibility is so important! A great quality that will carry them far in life.

  12. Judith Okech on March 16, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Reminds me of my son’s attitude towards one of the subjects! Apparently, I was also poor in the same subject so I’m rarely able to assist him with homework. I’m trying all I can, especially during holidays to change his attitude before he gets to teen-age. Attitude is the mother of all other vices. Hoping he catches up.

  13. Janene Eldred on March 16, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    I absolutely love and agree with your post! You post along the same lines as I do. Too many Christian parents and grandparents are leaving responsibility, prayer, and the rest up to their kids, because they are “too busy”, or too whatever. It hurts my heart to see this happening, that is why I started my blog in the first place! God bless you, as you continue your blog!

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