To raise happy kids, you are not required to sacrifice your peace of mind and all your time. You can have a happy child, as well as a happy mom/dad, without foregoing one at the cost of another.
We want our kids to be mentally and physically healthy, both when they’re in their childhood and when they grow up. To help with that, this article will guide you to develop some early happiness habits that can go a long way towards raising happy kids.
The 7 Keys To Your Child’s Happiness
Key #1. Practice Optimism
As shown in studies, children who are actively taught by their parents to be more optimistic are proven to be half as likely to become depressed when they start adolescence. Optimists are also physically and mentally more healthy and more successful in many areas of their life, such as studies, sports, careers, and marriage.
Therefore, for both you and your child to be happier in a more sustainable way, you should start to practice optimism in your child’s youth. Perhaps you could write down or talk about both of your daily blessings, or look forward to a happy event together, as their friend’s birthday party.
Key #2. Avoid Perfectionism
Though it is natural to want to brag about your child’s accomplishments to friends and family, be cautious. It has been statistically proven that when you overly emphasize your child’s achievements while associating them with their natural skills, your child is far more likely to develop depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental health disorders later in life.
So, instead, you should place more focus on the things they have worked hard to accomplish, the things they can control, rather than praising them for the things they can do easily.
Do not stop praising altogether, but acknowledge your child put in a lot of effort into something, showed a great amount of grit and perseverance to reach good results.
Key #3. Respond With Empathy
According to research, people who are taught good relationship skills have better levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. They are also more likely to have better treatment outcomes for any existing depression, as well as have long-term protection against developing depression.
So, if you teach your child good relationship skills, they will get along with other children and you better and will be a happier person long into the future.
Key #4. Take Up Realistic Responsibilities
For children – and adults too – the feeling of being wanted and needed is very important to long-term happiness.
So, if your four-year-old is constantly wanting to help with everything you’re doing around the house, assign them a specific reasonable job that actually needs to be done and they can do well.
Filling a pet’s bowl in the morning or putting away the cutlery are two good examples. This can make them feel like they’re contributing to the family and connected to you.
Key #5. Use Your Active Listening Skills
Though you want your child to be happy, it is okay for you both to experience sadness and anger and to express these things in a non-violent way.
However, it is unlikely your child will know how to express negative emotions without being taught. This is where active listening comes in handy – when your child is experiencing negative emotions, ask them to clarify exactly how they are feeling.
Are they angry with you? Make it apparent that this is fine and acceptable, but don’t fail to ask them why. If you have correctly denied your child permission to do something, acknowledge their emotions while being firm and calm. You can comfort them once they have calmed down.
Avoid feeling responsible for your child’s happiness.
Swooping in during tantrums and tears with short-term relief, like candy, is often unhelpful. It is preferable to leave them alone for a while and let them experience their emotions, even when the emotions are negative. Allow them to cry or even kick or smash something that will not harm them or you.
When they are ready, let them talk about how they are feeling. In this way, they can develop their own coping mechanism to feel better, for times when you aren’t around to help them, which is good for them to be truly happier in the long term.
Key #6. Give Cuddles And Hugs Often
Mainly in younger children, physical contact is absolutely essential for developing the ability for connections, as above, for lifelong relationships and just for childhood.
The benefits of this are well established. Social connections are a strong predictor of your child’s future general happiness. Positive physical touch in early childhood is an easy way to successfully communicate love to your child while also increasing your child’s potential for connections.
Therefore, if you have a baby, hold them as much as possible. Even with older children, try to factor in as much physical contact as you can.
For your child’s emotional well-being they also need as many close relationships as possible. These are relationships like they have with you, with other family members and siblings, with next-door neighbors, with their friends, and with any family pets.
In this way, your child can develop a great sense of emotional well-being to set them up for the rest of their life.
Key #7. Don’t Forget Your Own Happiness
Although this might seem like a selfish thing, when you are raising a child and are one of the most important and influential adults in their life, it is perhaps no surprise to you that your happiness during their childhood directly predicts your child’s ability to be happy and thus to be content and successful, both now, in their childhood and also in the future and their career.
Research indicates that children with parents who feel depressed are substantially more likely to show behavioral problems, whereas children who have happy parents are more likely to be happy too – your child is said to start emulating their parents’ behaviors at around six weeks.
For you to be happy, you could surround yourself with happy family and friends often – perhaps meet for coffee or get together in your house for a catch-up or even a party. Or you could relax, leaving your child with a babysitter or relax when your child is at school. You could spend time in nature or go to the cinema.
Did you know your kid’s willpower can make or break his future? Find out how you can build strong willpower in your children.
We all want our children to be happy and to grow up into happier, responsible adults, to be successful in their future careers, to have good relationships.
For happy children make happy parents.
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Authors’ Bio: Ellie Coverdale writes for UKwritings on matters of lifestyle and travel. She loves to share her insights on seeing the world and how to maximize your personal and professional life for adventures. Sandip Roy is a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes popular science articles on happiness, positive psychology, and related topics.
• Our story: Happiness Project
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