Things You Can Do To Raise Happy Children
Raising a happy child in the age of electronics and work at home parents can hinder the way children are raised.
All my childhood friends often say to me, “I wish it were the 80’s, children were happier then.”
This got me thinking, were children happier then? And why would that be?
Is it because there were fewer electronics or the fact the neighborhood children played together from dawn till dusk?
There is a lot of information available on parenting clever and successful children, but how can you raise happy children?
It could be difficult to hit a balance between what is best for children and what makes them happy — but the two do not have to be mutually incompatible.
Children who are happier are more likely to grow up to be successful, accomplished adults. So, based on the research, what truly works when it comes to raising happy children?
What Makes a Child Happy?
We all want to raise well rounded little humans that grow up to be good contributors to society.
There are many things that we NEED to do, such as teach them life lessons and make sure they do well in school throughout the year.
Many times, we even schedule many activities for them to ensure they are staying active and engaged with others throughout the year.
But what about making sure the kids are happy?
Childhood is a short period in our lives, and I genuinely believe that having a happy childhood is key to raising a well-rounded adult.
Ways To Raise Happy Children
Ironically, the first step toward happy children is a little selfish. How happy you are has a significant impact on how happy and successful your children are.
Extensive study has found a strong relationship between depressed moms and “poor outcomes” in their children, such as acting out and other behavioural issues. Parental depression appears to create behavioural issues in children, as well as making our parenting less successful.
This isn’t only due to genetics. Although the study discovered that happy parents are statistically more likely to have happy children, no genetic component was discovered.
So, what is the first step in becoming a happy version of yourself? Spend some time each week having fun (ego state) with friends.
Hang out with friends or family members who are likely to be laughing themselves, because laughter is contagious. Their laughter will make you chuckle, yet it doesn’t have to in order to lift your spirits. Neuroscientists think that hearing another person laugh activates mirror neurons in an area of the brain, giving listeners the impression that they are laughing as well.
Create Strong Connections
Creating secure connections with your child is the number one secret to foster happiness within your child.
When children feel understood, wanted, acknowledged, they are happy because their emotional well being and the need for connection is fulfilled.
We all have a deep desire for connection, and it’s merely no different for children.
Loving your child with your whole heart and being there for all those critical moments of their lives is what ultimately helps children be happy.
Through teenage years to early adulthood, kids will naturally push their parents away, but parents need to continue to foster that connection through the hardest times of a childrens life.
It’s the quality of connection, not the quantity of connection that really counts too.
Something as simple as a snuggle on the couch and a conversation during supper time can create a stronger connection than a scheduled bike ride together at the park.
The connection doesn’t have to be complicated; it just has to be there all the time.
Help Your Child Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Many individuals believe that they can’t feel grateful until they’re happy, or until they have something to be grateful for. However, if you look closely, you’ll notice that it’s the opposite: people are joyful because they are thankful. Others who identify themselves as deliberately cultivating gratitude are deemed happy by those they know as well as by themselves.
Because children lack a framework for life, they have no idea if they are lucky or unlucky, just that their friend Brendon has more costly footwear. However, there are several methods to teach childrens to nurture thankfulness, which is the polar opposite of taking things for granted. (Hint: Think modelling rather than lecturing.)
Accept All Emotions
Life is full of joy, yet even the happiest person experiences loss and suffering on a daily basis, and we have reasons to grieve, great and little. Recognizing our sad sentiments does not mean dwelling on the bad; rather, it means allowing ourselves to experience the entire gamut of human emotions. Accepting those unpleasant sad sensations really strengthens our potential to find joy in our life.
So choosing to be joyful does not imply suppressing our emotions. It entails acknowledging and honouring all of our feelings, as well as allowing ourselves to feel them. This helps us to move through the sensations and begin to dissolve them.
Simply empathizing with your childrens sad sentiments will allow her to feel them and will let the sensations begin to fade so she can move on. This is not a procedure that should be rushed, so allow your child (or yourself) as much time as you require.
Teach Them How To Create Relationships That Are Good For Them
Nobody disagrees that learning about relationships is essential — but how many parents take the time to educate their children how to interact with others?
(Saying “Hey, knock it off” when children don’t get along doesn’t go far in developing important social skills.)
It doesn’t take much. It might begin by encouraging children to behaviour little acts of kindness in order to develop empathy. This not only develops important skills and makes your children better individuals, but research indicates that it also makes them happy in the long run.
You Can’t Force happiness
I know you’re here to find out how to make children happy, and while there are plenty of things you can do to foster happiness in your child, you can’t force it.
Creating a happy child isn’t about giving them everything they desire in life. It is about being there to teach them how to survive in the real world, and that means letting them feel their feelings.
My favourite parenting book of all time is “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen,” and the whole book focuses on allowing children to feel their emotions.
Children have all kinds of feelings, and it can be challenging to understand those feelings and make sense of how to act on their beliefs.
It is essential to encourage kids to feel their feelings and talk to you about them so they can learn to grow to adequately express their emotions in all of the various relationships they will encounter later in life.
Giving children the freedom to feel what they feel allows them to learn to express those feelings appropriately.
All human beings are full of emotion, and children are no different.
It’s important to remember that swooping in to rescue your child from experiencing other emotions besides happiness is not productive in raising emotionally well-balanced children.
Teaching your child how to bounce back from experiences will help you raise a resilient child.
Help Your Child Learn the Joy of Contribution
According to research, the pride of contributing to the development of society makes us happy, and it will also make our children happier. It is our responsibility as parents to create methods for our children to make a positive impact in the world so that they can enjoy and learn from this experience. So it’s worthwhile to consider family service activities and to demonstrate neighborly “helping out.”
And here’s a fantastic method to improve (growth mindset) your own attitude while also helping others. While you and your child are strolling down the street, try radiating love at the people around you. Because you “send” love, you experience love, your mood transforms into an elevated, loving condition. We are constantly communicating our emotions without even realising it. Why not make it encouraging for people around us?
Celebrate Accomplishments Not Perfection
Relentless hammering on the accomplishment drum confuses children.
Parents who place too much emphasis on accomplishment are more likely to produce children with high levels of despair, anxiety, and substance misuse than other parents.
The research is clear: reward effort rather than innate talent.
Celebrate all the accomplishments from getting the ball into the net in a backyard game of basketball to getting a B on that science test that they worked so hard for.
Making sure to celebrate all the wins, big and small, will most definitely help raise a happy child.
When you celebrate accomplishments, it helps raise self-esteem, and high self-confidence and happiness are closely linked.
When we celebrate accomplishments, we have to be careful not to overpraise our children.
It is dangerous to overpraise children because if children feel that if they cannot succeed, they can fall off the pedestal, and the love from mom and dad will be gone forever.
How can such a positive thing like praise, have such a negative effect on a child?
Children who grow up being praised for being pretty, and when they do not feel so pretty later on in life, will often spend a lot more cash on lotions and masks just to feel more beautiful.
Additionally, children who are praised for being so smart can develop low self-esteem when studies get more challenging to keep up with, and grades start to slip.
The best thing to do to avoid overpraising our children is to redirect our praise.
Praising the hard work rather than the end result.
Teach To Look To The Bright Side – Or The Silver Lining
Do you want to avoid interacting with a grumpy adolescent? Then educate those pre-teens to be optimistic. Ten-year-olds who are trained to perceive and interpret the world optimistically are half as likely to develop depression later in life.
Allow for Success and Failure
Just like raising a childrens self-esteem, raising a happy child entails focusing less on compliments and more on providing opportunities for growth.
Making sure to be careful not to do too much for your child and allowing them to learn and make mistakes on their own is a great way to foster that higher self-esteem.
Children do need to struggle a little bit to master a new skill.
Getting always “bailed out” of tough situations teaches children that they don’t really need to know essential skills because the parents will always be there to save them.
Having that kind of dependency on parents is not right, and I’m sure you can see why.
Give Real Responsibilities
When we feel valued, we are happier, and the same goes for children.
Providing opportunities for children to have responsibilities will help them feel like they are needed, and feel needed and valued is what makes kids happy.
People, in general, want to feel needed, and the more you can help your child make family contributions starting at an early age, the more sense of self-worth and happiness your child will experience.
Teach Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is a talent, not a personality characteristic.
Expecting children to “naturally” comprehend their own emotions (let alone those of others) does not set them up for success.
When they are experiencing anger or irritation, a simple first step is to “Empathize, Label, and Validate.”
Make Happiness A Habit
How do you assist children develop long-term happy habits?
- Remove stimuli: Get distractions and temptations out of the way.
- Publicize It: Set goals to boost social support — and social pressure.
- One Goal At A Time: Having too many objectives can exhaust willpower, especially in children. Begin with one habit and work your way up to another.
- Maintain Your Focus: Don’t expect perfection right away. It takes some time. Relapses are unavoidable. That’s quite typical. Continue to reinforce.
Self-discipline in children is more indicative of future success than IQ — or almost anything else.
Yes, it’s the well-known marshmallow test all over again. Children who were better able to resist temptation had far better lives and were happier years later. What is an effective approach to begin teaching self-discipline? Assist children in learning to avoid temptation.
Let Them Play
We hear a lot about mindfulness and meditation these days, and both are really beneficial.
Getting childrens to do things on a regular basis, on the other hand, can be difficult. What works almost as well?
More time to play.
Today’s children spend less time playing both indoors and outside… In all, children have lost eight hours per week of free, unstructured, and spontaneous play during the previous two decades.
There are no strict instructions required here: Make extra time for your children to go outside and play.
More on the importance of play (for both children and adults) could be found here.
Additional Techniques To Make Your Child Happy
Simple traditions such as daily family dinners and weekly family game nights are often great ways to foster great connections and generate happiness within the family.
Having traditions helps children feel safe and secure because they sort of like family routines, just not daily.
Sometimes a great way to change the mood in the household is by singing (and dancing too.)
Make sure to get silly and sing song from children s variety to oldies and everything in between.
Watch What You Say
Be respectful when talking to your child. Children do not understand sarcasm and using sarcasm with young minds can do more harm and damage than cause humor.
Participate In School Events
When you participate in your childrens school and community events you are signaling to your little one that what they do is important, therefore making them feel important too.
Encourage your childrens passions
Whatever activity your little one could be interested in, make sure to foster that passion.
Encourage your child to join the basketball team if they have a passion for basketball, or sign them up for an art class if the passion is art.
Enjoying and appreciating mother nature naturally makes me a happier Momma, don’t you agree?
Go outside daily and take a break from all the technology in your life.
Live in a cold environment? That’s ok! Cold air is good for kids too, it actually boosts their immune system.
Tidy The House
What the heck do happy kids and a tidy house have in common?
Well children who grow up in mess and chaos are not likely to feel comfortable enough to invite their friends over and that can hinder their happiness.
You don’t need to be cleaning like a mad person on a daily basis, but keeping things neat and tidy can encourage your child to be happier in the home environment because they will naturally be more comfortable.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m eating too many hamburgers and not enough salad to balance out my diet, I just don’t feel the best.
Children are the same way.
Provide your children with fresh produce and less sugar pre packaged foods.
In general it’s a good idea to keep a blanced diet for everyone in the home, but the children are the most important.
Creating healthy eating habits at the early stages of life will help keep your child choose healthier food options as they grow.
Another great way to foster happiness in your children is to show a lot of affection.
This includes hugs, kisses, tickles, and back rubs.
Getting close and personal with your little one creates that strong connection that is oh so important when it comes down to raising happy kids.
Secrets to Raising Happy Kids
Keep in mind that children do not have to be joyful all of the time. In reality, kids must also feel unpleasant emotions such as grief, anger, fear, and disappointment.
When your children are experiencing unpleasant feelings, there is no need to cheer them up or intervene. Instead, guide them through it and assist them in finding strategies to calm and manage with their emotions.
If they are not happy every minute of the day, it is not a reflection on your parenting. It is not your responsibility to become responsible for your children’s happiness. Instead, it is up to you to teach your children how to control their emotions in a healthy manner.
Finally, the most important thing you can do to help raise happy children is to provide them with a caring atmosphere. Children who know they are loved and cared for are more likely to succeed in life, even when they experience adversity.
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe To My Parenting NewsletterSign Up For My Parenting Newsletter for tips on creating a happier home and becoming a more positive parent. As a bonus when you subscribe you’ll get a copy of my FREE Growth Mindset Printout For Kids which is the KEY to raising resilient kids with a growth mindset.
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3. Sign Up For A 7 Step Positive Parenting CourseEnroll now in the most in-depth parenting class. After discovering these common sense, easy-to-implement, research-based tools you can learn how to:
- Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
- Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
- Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)