The best part of Character Trades is talking. Each game version provides a key moment to talk about an important character trait with your kids.
Here's some ideas to get you started...
Talking about character can be a bit abstract for kids. Some of the words and definitions will stretch their vocabulary. (That's a good thing.)
It's important to bring the discussion down to their daily life. Use stories, analogies, real-life scenarios, or examples from their favorite TV shows.
Here's an example discussion about Self-Control:
Self-Control is a lot like driving a car. When someone drives a car, can they drive crazy all over the road and go as fast as they want? Why not?
(Because it's against the law.)
But what if they really want to drive on the wrong side of the road?
(They can't. They would cause a wreck and could hurt someone.)
That's right. The opposite of Self-Control is Recklessness -- doing what I feel like doing without caring how it might hurt someone else.
Self-Control is about keeping you and other people SAFE. Like driving a car, we need to slow down and think about things before we do them. That keeps you and other people from getting hurt.
Let's say the definition of Self-Control out loud. Repeat it after me: "Choosing to do what is right when I feel like doing wrong."
And what's the key to Self-Control? Slow down and think. Good!
Review and Reinforce
- Start your discussion by reviewing the character trait you talked about the previous week. "Who remembers what we talked about last week?" Give hints if necessary.
- Have kids write down a character trait and its definition. Writing it engages a different part of their brain and helps it sink in.
- After the kids write a definition, have them hang it on the bathroom mirror, by their bed, on the fridge or in some other place where they will see it once a day.
- Assign the kids the task of memorizing this week's character trait and definition. Offer a reward to anyone who does.
Use the Poster Set
In addition or as an alternative, use the Character Trades poster set. Each of the 36 character traits and their definitions appear on their own colorful 8.5" x 11" poster with large print
Ask Good Questions
- When was the last time you demonstrated (character trait)?
- Who do you think of when you hear the word (character trait)?
- Does showing (character trait) feel hard to you? Why or why not?
- What would help someone be better at (character trait)?
- What do you think is the opposite of (character trait)?
- What movie or TV show have you seen where (positive trait) or (negative trait) took place?
- Let’s think of a time when we noticed (family member) showing (positive trait).
Listen Rather Than Lecture
An important part of “Character Trades” is discussion. Think of yourself as a facilitator of the conversation, starting it and helping it flow. Listen well, respond and guide.
Practice scenarios with your kids to help them experience making good character choices. “So let’s pretend that I’m having trouble with (negative trait)...”
Let Them Be Creative
As part of a discussion, have everyone draw a picture that demonstrates a positive character trait and/or its negative counterpart. Or introduce a character trait by acting it out and having someone guess your charade. The more ways kids engage their senses, the deeper the content will sink in.
Use personal examples from your own life. Share as much about your failures as your successes.
Let Us Know…
What good questions or new game variations have you discovered? Share your ideas with us on our Contact Form. We’d love to hear from you!