Questions to Encourage Character

Do you want to grow responsible, independent, caring individuals? Each interaction you have with a child is an opportunity to build internal strength and develop life skills. Asking questions rather than making statements plants the seeds for healthy character traits to grow within children.  When a child is exhibiting a trait you wish to encourage take advantage by helping them self-reflect. Use a sincere tone to convey your intent. A simple way to remember is “Ask - Don’t Tell!”


What to ask
To encourage
Instead of saying
·       How hard did you try?
·       Was this your best work?
·       Did you give yourself credit for your efforts?
·       When it was hard what did you do?
Hard Work / Perseverance
·       You tried really hard on that.
·       You never gave up, even when it was hard.
·       I can tell you tried your very best.
·       Do you think you can do it?
·       How smart are you?
·       Are you smart enough to figure this out for yourself?
·       What will it take for you to be able to do this …on your own?
A “can do” attitude.
·       You have such a positive attitude.
·       You can do it.
·       That was brave of you.
·       I can tell you studies very hard.
·       You did a great job of participating today.
·       How much have you improved?
·       How close to your target goal are you?
·       How big of a challenge will this be for you?
·       What will it take to meet this challenge?
Growth Mindset
·       You have really improved on _______.
·       You are not afraid of a challenge.
·       Did you think of that all by yourself?
·       What creative ideas do you have to solve this?
·       Who/ where might you find some ideas/solutions?
Creativity / Problem Solving
·       What a creative solution to the problem.
·       You thought of that all by yourself!
·       How much did you collaborate with others?
·       How good of a friend are you being? (To others- to yourself)
·       What does it say about you when you work well with others?
·       How might you help?
·       How good of a helper are you?
Collaboration
·       You work very well with your classmate/siblings.
·       What a great friend you are!
·       You did a great job of helping.
·       I can tell you worked hard with your group.
·       Have you given yourself credit for that?
·       How responsible were you being?
·       What does it feel like to be prepared?
·       Are you proud of your choice?
·       How was what you did a trust builder?
Responsibility
·       I love how you took ownership of that!
·       That was a very responsible thing you did.
·       I like that you are always prepared.
·       I know I can trust you.
·       I am so proud you made that choice.


Most questions can be followed by – “Have you given yourself credit for ______?”  A transition to asking only questions might be to preface the question. For example:  “I think you're smart enough to figure this out – what do you think?” For the next 48 hours challenge yourself to ask more questions. 

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