(BPT) - Character education is a crucial part of childhood development. According to a Sage Journal article, character education is associated with higher levels of educational outcomes and is also related to higher levels of expressions of love, integrity, compassion and self-discipline.

Behaviors children learn starting in infancy define how they'll operate as a school-age child and into adulthood. It's never too early to begin teaching children the value of strong morality and character in order to help them succeed in school. Building strong social and emotional connections is key to developing an overall good sense of self and motivates children to develop strong values in academics and socialization. Simply telling our children about important values and showing them through our actions is enough to set them up for better outcomes now and in the future. Modeling these behaviors is even more important.

Imagine a classroom where children help each other and respect each other's uniqueness - where kids are able to recognize and manage their feelings while being able to relate to others. Perhaps this description is too good to be true, but it's important to do our part as parents to help our children develop important character skills that are needed in school. While there are many important traits, experts at Kiddie Academy Educational Child Care have identified five that are crucial to success in a classroom environment and in life.

Respect

Teaching your child respect, or being able to recognize and appreciate the rights, beliefs, practices and differences of other people, is one of the most beneficial traits to have in school. All children should feel respected in the classroom from peers and adults in their environment. In turn, children should demonstrate respect to other children, educators and adults in their lives. A great way to model respect is reinforcing good listening and being receptive of others, allowing them to be themselves. Respect builds trust and positive relationships.

Helpfulness

Giving assistance when someone is in need, or being helpful, is a trait that will allow your child to be a good citizen toward fellow students. Empower your children to help at home by letting them assist with chores like putting away groceries or washing off plastic dishes in the sink.

Empathy

The ability to empathize, or understand and care about how someone else is feeling, is beneficial for children interacting with other children because it will help them to show more kindness. Display concern for your children and help them see how others feel in different situations to build their ability to feel empathetic.

Honesty

Honesty, or the act of telling the truth and acting truthfully, is a challenging value to teach to children as they develop. Oftentimes, they can face confusion over facts, can mix up reality with fantasy or be afraid of getting in trouble. Assist your children with distinguishing what's real from imaginary and reassure them that telling the truth won't get them in trouble. You can do this by playfully asking if something they're saying really happened or if they're telling a story and you can also use books as a teaching element. Many popular children's stories involve characters learning to tell the truth, such as 'The Berenstain Bears and the Truth.'

Self-Regulation

Being able to use the strategies and coping skills necessary to control your emotions, reactions and behavior in different situations, or self-regulation, is a character trait that helps children excel in a classroom because they can calm down without distracting from others. Name your children's emotions when you see them appear so they can learn to identify when they're feeling mad or sad and teach them coping skills like taking deep breaths or counting to 10 in those moments.

According to TIME magazine, an individual's personality traits are better indicators of academic success than a high score on an intelligence test. By setting our children up to learn strong character skills early in life, we are facilitating their success in school overall. For more ways to focus on character development at home, download Kiddie Academy's Character Essentials Activity Book at kiddieacademy.com/character-essentials-activity-book/.