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10 Tips To Raising Happy Kids
What do we wish most for our children? Next to being healthy, we want them to be happy, of course! Fortunately, a wide array of scientific studies show that happiness is a learned behavior, a muscle we can help our children build and maintain. We have highlighted the top 10 Tips To Raising Happy Kids
1. Play. You are never too old for playtime. There is something to be said for things like family game night, and bike rides. Playing with your kids will keep them close and build a solid bond. Also, joking and playing pretend will help them with social skills, building creativity, and the ability to better manage stress.
2. Stay positive! Life can be rough, but kids need their parents to be strong and stay positive in front of them. Parents who express negative emotions toward their infants or handle them roughly are likely to find themselves with aggressive kids. So if you find yourself in a cycle of angry parent, angry child, angrier parent, try to break free. It will ease your problems in the long run.
3. Explore. Show your children there is a big beautiful world for them to explore outside of their daily lives. Time away will encourage quality time together, hands on learning, appreciation of nature and different cultures, and can lead to a new perspective. Even if your budget does not allow you to travel far, the Bay Area has a wealth of local museums, hiking trails, and tourist attractions you can enjoy with your family.
4. Appreciate Food. Allow the kids to come in the kitchen when you prepare dinner. Teach them your favorite recipes and tell them what foods and good for them and what foods are unhealthy. If children have an understanding of how food can make them feel, they might not be so concerned about how it tastes. Cookies might taste great, but vegetables can help them play harder (and they taste yummy!)
5. Teach your kids to be Thankful. As long as you are working hard to give your kids the best life you can, your kids have a huge reason to be thankful. Teach them to appreciate the little things, so when problems to come they will have enough awareness of all the good in their lives, that they will not be so affected by the bad things. For instance, if your child does not get as many presents as they hoped for on their birthday, they need to be taught to be thankful for what they have and not be upset over what they were not given. It is common for children to behave as if they are entitled to certain things. I believe teaching them to be thankful is the best way to avoid that negative attitude. One option to teach thankfulness is to keep a gratitude journal and ask your children to write in it something new they are thankful for each day.
6. Be Compassionate. The easiest way to teach your child this great virtue is to exhibit it yourself. Being compassionate is not just limited to how you react to others, it is how you react to yourself. Self-compassion is made up of mindfulness, the ability to manage thoughts and emotions without being carried away or repressing them, common humanity, or empathy with the suffering of others, and self-kindness, a recognition of your own suffering and a commitment to solving the problem. Your children will learn from you and you will feel more relaxed.
7. Remember: Nobody’s Perfect. A great quote: “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel!” When you are invited over to someones home, most people will clean up their dirty laundry because they do not want you to see their messes. The same goes for life stories. They will tell you how much fun they had on vacation and how great their kids are doing in school, but that does not mean their life does not have it’s own huge pile of “dirty laundry.” Let your kids be themselves and learn and grow without holding them to impossible standards.
8. Allow Kids to Share their Talents. A key element in children who are happy is that they have the chance to use their talents and give to others. Kids who volunteer to care for animals at a local shelter, or read stories to younger children are getting a huge boost in self confidence by helping others and being generous.
9. Set Structure and Limits. Boundaries actually make kids more confident. Your children need to know what is expected of them and understand that the rules are there to keep them safe and prepared for taking care of themselves someday. When your child does do something unacceptable, stick to your “guns.” Give your child a reasonable punishment and do not waver in it. Children can quickly learn not to take you seriously if you over exaggerate a punishment and never follow through.
10. Know Your Kids. Take time to talk to your kids every day and be there when they need you. The best parenting advice I ever got, “Just talk to your kids every day, even when they are annoying teenagers.” You can do this by going on family walks, or having a family dinner at the table.
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