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Published June 07, 2012, 11:30 PM

Five Things Friday: 5 tips for building character in kids

FARGO – Raising kids is a difficult task, and while there is no instruction manual, per se, there are numerous books and websites offering tips and tricks for parents.

By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

Editor’s note: “5 Things Friday” is a weekly feature in SheSays that will run on – you guessed it – Fridays. It will focus on quick tips, ideas, activities and more – all in bunches of five. If you have a “5 Things Friday” suggestion, contact us at shesays@forumcomm.com.

FARGO – Raising kids is a difficult task, and while there is no instruction manual, per se, there are numerous books and websites offering tips and tricks for parents.

Inspired by negative news stories involving children perpetuating violence on others, sisters Debbie Burns and Patty Cockrell started working on “Tukie Tales: A New Beginning for a Better Tomorrow,” a series of five children’s books designed to help parents teach young children important values.

“There is something especially senseless in reading about small children committing sadistic crimes,” Burns said. “We wanted to be part of a ‘positive push’ in the right direction.”

Their goal is to help busy parents, scrambling to make ends meet, teach children empathy, compassion, environmental awareness and other values, she said in a news release.

Here are five tips from Burns and Cockrell to help parents positively shape their children’s character:

Promote a love for nature

Parents who are busy shuttling their children from one building to another may overlook the benefits of the great outdoors, but spending time in nature has a therapeutic effect and helps children learn about their place in the world and the value of all the life that shares space with us, they said.

Demonstrate the value of teamwork

Work together with your children toward a common goal and point out when they do great teamwork. Many youngsters learn teamwork through sports, but that almost always includes a competitive element, Burns and Cockrell said. It’s important for children to experience the benefits of creating, problem-solving and getting chores done as a team.

Make sure children appreciate safety

Don’t take for granted that your young child knows what’s safe and what’s not.

You don’t need to unnecessarily frighten your children, but carelessness can lead to bad habits, injuries and opportunities for others to harm them, Burns and Cockrell said.

Build their confidence with at least one skill

Children come into this world with no previous experience, so their brains are hungry for know-how. Knowledge and skills to a child are like water for a thirsty man in the desert, the sisters said,

Kindness counts

Children should learn that people who make kindness a habit tend to be happier and there is an inherent joy in helping others.

“I understand parents are busy earning a living to support their children,” Cockrell said. “But who you raise in the process makes all the difference to the future world.”

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