If you’ve got kids, one of your biggest concerns will likely be making sure that they are happy. You don’t want your kids to go without, after all, they deserve the world. It’s up to you to make sure that your kids can live full, happy lives whether they’re at home, school, or some kind of club.
Here are some ideas on how you can make sure your kids are living the lives they deserve. Enjoy!
Let Them Make Some Of Their Own Decisions
Kids have very little control over their lives. They are told what to do pretty much all of the time, whether that’s by you or by their school. This means you should let them make some of their own decisions, where possible. For example, when it comes to what to wear in the morning, why not give them a couple of choices and let them decide? If you’re feeling really brave, you could let them dress themselves completely. You could also do this with their meals. Give them a few choices and let them make the deciding vote. When they have choices like this and feel like they have a little control, they’ll be much happier. They’ll also be less likely to rebel and refuse to wear what you put out, eat their meal, etc.
Listen To Your Children
One of the best things you can do for your children is listen to them. Kids are not stupid. In fact, they are very intuitive. This means that they’ll be able to tell if you’re not listening to them properly, or if you’re answering them on auto-pilot. Imagine what that will do to their self esteem? Make sure you give your kids the attention they deserve when they speak to you. It all matters more than you can truly know.
Don’t Try Too Hard To Make Your Kids Happy
This may sound counterproductive, but trying too hard to make your kids happy is the wrong thing to do entirely. You won’t make them happy by buying them the toy they had their eye on, or by letting them do whatever they want – at least not in the long term. Kids crave structure, and the best gift for them is quality time and attention from you, as well as routine. Don’t grant them every wish, as you will only be boosting their short term happiness. You may also be teaching them how to squash their negative emotions. For example, when they are upset, buy them a toy. Because of this, they will never learn to deal with their emotions properly. You can’t force your child to feel happiness, so forget about doing that. Just focus on being the best parent you can be. Remember, just because they’re not squealing with excitement at this, doesn’t mean they aren’t truly happy and fulfilled on the inside. The less inclined to ‘fix’ their feelings you are, the better.
Bear in mind that happy kids usually have happy parents. Attend to your own well being if you want your kids to be happy, and that will do them the world of good too. In studies, when kids were asked what they would like from their parents, many were reported saying that they wanted their parents to be happy. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so work on your own emotions. Don’t neglect your relationship with your partner either – kids happiness will naturally follow when their parents have a good relationship. Set an example to them.
Ensure They Have Regular Mealtimes
Regular mealtimes should be part of the routine for your kids. They need structure and security to be happy, and regular mealtimes with proper food will do that for them. Don’t fill the cupboards with junk food and skip proper food. While it’s ok to allow your kids a treat, you should be teaching them balance from a young age, and feeding them more nutritious food. Just like you wouldn’t want to scare them out of eating junk food altogether (hello eating disorder) you don’t want to make it their sole nutritional source. Make sure you explain to them in an age appropriate way why we need to eat vegetables. The more you feed them healthy foods, the more they’ll like them. Keeping junk to a minimum is a good idea, as the more they have, the more they crave. Don’t use junk food as a way to try to foster positive emotions, either!
Give Them Regular Bedtimes
Regular bedtimes is another crucial component of a child’s routine. A regular bedtime ensures their bodies get into a good rhythm. They should be ready to drop off when they go to bed, and ready to get up when you wake them this way. A good routine is a must, especially when they start school. It’s a good idea to get them used to bedtimes and sleeping in their own bed as early on as possible.
Let Them Explore Play That Excites Them
When your kids say they are bored, it’s not your job to think of something for them to do. In fact, if you do this, you’re actually hindering them from ever coming up with something to do alone. Don’t always give them something to do, and instead, let them explore play that excites them. Usually, kids will say they are bored because the rest of their life has some kind of instruction or direction. They don’t know how to handle the times they haven’t got this direction. Encourage them to enjoy their free time and find things that they like to do, whether this is playing an instrument or writing poems. Take them to clubs and classes if you think it will foster healthy hobbies!
Let Them Express Their Emotions
Make sure your kids don’t feel inclined to swallow their emotions. Make sure their emotions are validated, and that they are allowed to express them. Kids are more open than adults, and they don’t care about getting upset in a public place.
Make Sure They Have Enough Downtime
In this busy age, kids are usually doing things all the time, whether this is visiting a friend’s house for a play date or doing homework. Make sure they have enough downtime at home. Overscheduling them can lead to stress and burn out, just like an adult. Encourage them to relax and de-stress. Maybe you could find out details about Optimum.com so that they have options, such as films, TV shows, and the internet. However, non-screen time should be encouraged too, so make sure they have books and things.
Know How To Praise Your Kids
Knowing how to praise your kids the right way is important too. Believe it or not, the way you praise them can seriously affect them both now and in the future. If you’re the kind of parent who says your child is an artist every time they scribble, or that they are the next best footballer whenever they play the game, you may find that this can backfire. This is because you are praising them on achievement, rather than their effort. They will begin to believe that to get your approval, they must achieve something. It’ll make them scared that if they don’t succeed, you won’t love them anymore – which is why many of them feel blocked and unable to do certain tasks, as they fear they won’t be perfect. If you praise things like your child being clever or sporty, these things can also backfire and undermine their confidence later in. They may grow up believing that they are only valued by this gift that is out of their control and could disappear any moment.
Of course this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give praise. It just means it should be redirected. Make sure you praise for the effort that goes into something, rather than the result. Praise their hard work and creativity, as well as their persistence. This will go a long way in the long run.
Give Them Real Responsibilities
Kids need responsibilities as soon as they are old enough, for example, keeping their room clean and making their bed. They need to feel like what they do matters. It’s built into every child. Make sure you give a few more responsibilities as they age. You could even create a sticker chart to ensure that they keep up with them. Simple tasks include setting out napkins or filling the pet bowl. You should also find that they are very eager to help at a young age, but if you wait too long to get them to chip in they will be reluctant to do so.
Encourage Them To Practice Gratitude
Encouraging your kids to practice regular gratitude will help a lot too. Most people are addicted to looking at what’s wrong rather than what’s right, and discuss problems like the weather. Try to make it so your kids don’t fall into those habits. Perspective is everything! You can get them to practice gratitude at the dinner table by talking about 3 things they are grateful for, and everything good that’s happened that day. This can foster many positive emotions and lead to lasting happiness.