Tips to raise happy children
EVERY PARENT wants to raise children who are happy and successful. As a parent, you are responsible for your child’s health and happiness, which can sometimes be pretty stressful and overwhelming. Luckily, you can raise your child to be a happy person by caring for them, paying attention to them, and talking to them about their emotions. As your children grow up, you can guide them through life’s challenges and encourage them to focus on happiness and self-fulfilment.
BECOME A HAPPIER PERSON YOURSELF
Emotional problems in parents are linked to emotional problems in their children, as explained in Raising Happiness. Not only that, unhappy people are also less effective parents. Psychologists Carolyn and Philip Cowan have also found that happy parents are more likely to have happy children.
Help your child understand and identify their emotions. Children rely on their parents to help them talk about their emotions. If your child is feeling happy, sad, upset, or excited, talk with them about it and tell them about your experience with that emotion. This helps to instil emotional intelligence in children, and helps them become more in tune with their feelings as they grow up.
It is also important to identify less positive emotions, like frustration. Teach your children emotions by using visual cues that they can access easily. Use flashcards or an emotion poster your child can refer to when they have trouble telling you how they feel.
ENCOURAGE THEM TO SPEND TIME WITH THEIR FRIENDS
Social connections are extremely important for children, so be sure to give them enough time with their friends. Organise play dates for younger children, and allow older kids to spend time with their friends from school and extracurricular activities. Try to help them devote at least two hours each week to spending time with friends.
Coordinate with other parents of younger children to make weekly or monthly play dates with a variety of different friends. For older children, offer to host their friends after school for a study session or even a sleepover so you can see how their friendships are going. If your child is having problems making and keeping friends, talk to them about what’s going on. If you suspect that they are being bullied, contact their teacher to discuss the issue and find a resolution.
Encourage your child to connect with others during extracurricular activities and make an effort to take your child to social gatherings when they are invited. Talk to your child to have them invite their friends to their own celebrations.
ASK YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT WHAT MAKES THEM HAPPY
Talking about what makes you feel happy or thankful is a great way to recognise happiness in everyday life and turn negative experiences into positive ones. During mealtime or before bed, talk to your children about one thing in their day that made them feel happy or one thing that they are thankful for in their life.
As your children get older, you can encourage them to keep a gratitude journal or continue your daily conversations about happiness. This will reinforce the importance of optimism as they grow into adults.
CREATE A DAILY ROUTINE AND ENCOURAGE HEALTHY HABITS
Teach your child the importance of personal hygiene and daily routines, like keeping a regular bedtime, exercising for at least 30 minutes per day, and spending time outside. Try to keep a regular schedule for yourself each day so that your child can see the benefits of these habits.
For younger children, this can be as simple as helping them brush their teeth, get dressed, and do small chores around the house. With older children, you can invite them to go for a walk with you, or spend time reading before bed to relax.
For instance, if your evenings tend to be busy, you can wake up, pick out clothes, brush your teeth, and have breakfast together with your child every morning.
KEEP THEM ENGAGED WITH GAMES, TOYS, AND ACTIVITIES
Having fun is an important part of being happy, no matter what age you are! Let your child participate in a variety of games, crafts, and activities, and encourage them to make up their own. While playing, children of all ages can discover new interests and practise the skills that they are good at.
SOURCE: Psychology Today