Children are said to be a gift from God, and to any parent, this precious blessing makes life worth living. As parents, we always look for ways to ensure that our little tykes live life to the fullest.
Most parents fail to understand what ‘truly’ makes their child happy. Some children may be unable to express their feelings through words, but they tend to show a change in their behavior. As a conscious mom or dad, you will have to realize these subtle changes in their attitude.
Most parents think about the future happiness of their children, but children only think of things that make them happy at the moment. But it is possible to find a balance so that both parents and children are happy.
1. Nurture Your Own Happiness
Children are very observant. They will notice when the adults around them are unhappy. Give yourself some time too. Relax when you can, take care of yourself.
When you are at peace, you will realize how much you enjoy spending time with your children.
2. Celebrate the Little Things With Your Family
You don’t have to go on vacations or throw huge birthday parties to make your child happy. The amount of time and how you spend it with your children makes a huge impact on them.
Have dinner together, drop them off at school, play dress up with them, go to the park on weekends. You will notice how happy these little things make them.
3. Don’t Neglect Your Marriage
All couples fight and it quite natural to have disagreements. But don’t let differences and misunderstandings become a barrier. Discuss your problems with each other and solve them. Try to develop a good relationship with your spouse or partner.
When parents are happy together, the children will be naturally happy.
4. Pay Attention to What your Children Say
Most parents make the mistake of disregarding their children when they are trying to converse. Listen to them and give them your undivided attention. Children are still growing, so they tend to share what they are learning with the people around them. They are very perceptive so respond to them no matter how silly or small the conversation is. This is part of their growth.
5. Make Every Meal a Family Meal
This may be difficult especially for working parents but at least try to have breakfast and dinner together. Meals are a great way for families to come close. Children get to talk to you about their day, and this makes a great way for you to bond with them.
6. Teach your Children to Control Their Emotions
Small children are prone to quick changes in their emotions. It’s imperative that you be very patient with them. They are still learning, and they often don’t know when they are wrong. As parents, you have to slowly nurture them to be able to instill good values in them.
7. Teach your Children to Build Fulfilling Relationships
Parents must create an open environment so that children are able to form a relationship with their siblings and friends. This will be beneficial for their mental health and boost their self-esteem.
8. Establish Sensible Ground Rules
Being too strict or too lenient are both detrimental to your child’s health. Find a balance between the two. Learn when to compromise and when to be unrelenting. It is effective if you explain to your child the concept of rules and why they are applied. This will make your child more likely to be obedient and stick to those rules.
9. Prioritize the Need for Adequate Sleep
It has been scientifically proven that inadequate sleep in children can lead to poor brain activity, poor creativity and lack of concentration. Here are some ways that you can ensure that your child is getting adequate sleep:
- Set a persistent bedtime routine.
- Limit stimulating activities before bed and stop using all electronic devices at least 2 hours before bed.
- Make your child’s bedroom as dark and quiet as possible, so they are not disturbed.
10. Teach your Children to Give Their Best
Being competitive is healthy as it encourages children to work hard. But many times parents place unrealistic expectations on their children. This reduces their self-esteem and makes them depressed.
Encourage your child by saying “You did well” instead of “You could have done better.” Be your child’s biggest supporter and cheer for them the loudest.
11. Give your Children More Outdoor Playtime
Research shows that children who play outdoors perform better at academics and have better physical, mental and social health. You can make playing outdoors a learning experience too. Teach them about different animals, plants, and places. This will also be a great bonding time with your child.
12. Limit Their TV Time
Many parents keep their children distracted by a TV to get their work done. Although it may seem like an easy solution, it is unhealthy in the long term. Limit your own TV time so that your child learns from you. It is also important to keep an eye on what your child is watching.
13. Promote the Practice of Keeping a Happiness Journal
On their next birthday, gift your child a journal and encourage them to write the things that made them feel grateful that day (such as a great day at school, a new friend, etc.). It doesn’t matter how big or small the thing is. The marked improvement in mood due to the journals has been scientifically proven.
14. Foster Their Independence
Many parents unknowingly keep their children wrapped in a bubble and grant their every wish thinking this will keep them safe and happy. This will make them too dependent on others and hinder their growth as individuals. Allow them to make their own decisions.
It is okay for them to make mistakes now, this will help them learn. Fostering such behavior will enable them to be functioning adults in the society.
15. Encourage Generosity
According to a study, children who help other people tend to be happier. This makes them feel that their life is more meaningful.
Take your child to the local soup kitchen or participate in community work. Such work will teach them the value of kindness.
16. Encourage Body Positivity
The unfortunate disadvantage of easy access to technology is that children are also more depressed these days. Social media often portrays unrealistic body images and promotes extreme measures to achieve them. Eating disorders are more common now than ever before.
Parents, therefore, have to ensure that their children don’t succumb to such expectations. They can do so by:
- Don’t criticize others in front of your children.
- Explain the health benefits of exercise rather than its effect on appearance.
- Don’t make your child feel guilty about eating a certain food.
- Encourage your child to focus on their achievements rather than their looks.
17. Never Scream at your Children
Children are very sensitive to parent’s behavior, so you must not be so harsh on them. Granted that people have bad days and children may be difficult at times but don’t take your anger out on them.
Such hostility will create psychological problems and instill fear in them. When you are upset, just walk away for 10 minutes and calm yourself down.
18. Teach Them Forgiveness
Forgiveness is perhaps the hardest gift to give to someone and yet it is the most liberating feeling for the giver. Be an example for your children, resolve your conflicts and teach them the importance of forgiveness.
19. Instill Positive Thinking in Them
Optimistic children grow up to be happier adults. Make them see the good things in life than dwell over the sad ones. It is a good idea to tell them about your own challenges in life and how faced them. This will boost their morale and allow them to have a more positive outlook in life.
You can also help by acknowledging the good in others and teach your children to solve their problems rather than complain about them.
20. Schedule Frequent Family Meetings
Sit down with your spouse and children at least once a week and have a friendly family meeting. Discuss problems and solutions together. This makes the children feel that their parents are more involved in their lives and strengthens family relationships.
It also creates an environment for them to open up and talk to their parents. Such meetings will strengthen their decision-making skills as adults.
The journey of parenthood is a long and difficult one. There will be good days, bad days, days when your child will fall, days when they can’t get up. Remind them that no matter the situation you will be their constant companion.
Guide each other through on this bittersweet journey and cherish every moment. Before you know it, your little ones will become the adults you dreamed them to be.