We all want our children to be healthy, smart and successful. But what about wanting them to be happy? Happiness shouldn’t be a factor that you exclude, as it helps them to be accomplished and successful. So here are some tips on how you can help create an environment where your kids grow up happy.
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You wouldn’t think it but your happiness is essential for your child’s happiness and success. It may seem selfish but your satisfaction with your life has a direct impact on your child’s emotional and social skills. This means that if you’re depressed, it can cause your children to have behavioural problems and to act out.
If you want to strive to be a happier parent, be sure to take some time out every week for yourself to do yoga, watch a funny movie, do exercise, meet up with caring friends or go on a relaxing walk. Make sure to meet up with friends that laugh a lot themselves, as hearing a person laugh can trigger neurons in your brain that will get you laughing.
Badgering is for badgers
Helicopter parents is the name given to parents who hover around their children constantly expecting them to be perfect at everything. This kind of badgering and overemphasis on your child’s achievements is more likely to cause high levels of depression, anxiety and substance abuse. If you think you fit the bill, then take a step back and take a deep breath.
If you want to praise your child, praise their effort and not natural ability. This is because children who are praised for their intelligence have a harder time coping with failure than those praised for their efforts. So next time your kid did well in a project, tell them your proud because they worked hard and not because they’re smart.
These days, children have such busy schedules that are packed with extracurricular activities, homework and sports. So where does this leave time for play? You would think it, but playtime can actually help kids to learn and grow. During unstructured play they solve problems, share, negotiate, work in groups, invent scenarios and discover their own talents.
Children have lost up to eight hours a week of free and spontaneous play in the last two decades. It’s important to make up for that by ensuring that your children don’t have too many activities on their plates. Then set aside an hour a day where they can go outside, to just be children, and play.
Think glass half full, not half empty
It is important that you teach your child how to be optimistic. Sure this may sound a bit unorthodox but it actually has some scientific backing to it. Children who learn to be optimistic between the ages of 10 and 12 are less likely to be depressed during puberty. So then how do you teach it to your child?
We are examples to our children, which is why we can teach optimism to children by being optimistic ourselves. You can also teach your children to look for the good in every bad situation by making it into a game, such as if they did badly in a project how they can do better next time.
Raising your children to be happy won’t always be easy, but with the right attitude and encouragement your child could grow up to be as happy as a clam.