How To Raise Happy Children

Happy siblings

There are few things more wonderful than a happy kid. When we become parents, we want our children to grow up happy, of course, but we don't always consider what we can do to help make that happen. Teaching kids the skills they need to be happy children will also help them to grow into happy adults.

  1. Have reasonable expectations. Learn what you can about child development and try not to expect skills and behaviors that are too far ahead of your child's age.
  2. Be an example. You are your child's first and most important teacher. Children take their cues from the adults in their lives, so try to share with your child the things that make you happy. Family, friends and hobbies that bring you pleasure can be enjoyable for your children, too.
  3. Find balance. Make time in your child's life (and your own!) for a variety of things. Balance work with fun, exertion with rest.
  4. Kids thrive on routine. They are more comfortable and experience less anxiety when they know what to expect. Try to keep a consistent, but flexible, daily routine.
  5. Encourage physical activity. Not only will you be instilling lifelong healthy habits, physical exertion increases "feel good" endorphins and promotes good sleep.
  6. Praise your child, but make it sincere. Children learn quickly to differentiate genuine praise from empty accolades. Try to be aware of your child's strengths and let him/her know that you notice!
  7. Celebrate milestones, both large and small.
  8. Learn together. Exposing your children to new experiences will broaden their range of interests and allow them to find activities that bring them pleasure and allow them to excel. You never know -- you may have a world class skier or a budding artist living at your house!
  9. Try to say "yes" more than "no." When it is reasonable, allow your child a bit of freedom. They also need to learn that sometimes, however, the answer will be "no." Be kind, but firm. Your children may not always agree with your decisions, but ultimately, you are responsible for their well-being.
  10. Play! Make time for family fun and don't be afraid to be silly.
  11. Teach your children to be gracious when they lose as well as when they win. Learning to handle both success and defeat is an important life skill that begins in childhood.
  12. Listen. When your child comes to you with a problem, try not to minimize their challenges and fears. What may seem to be a small problem to you may be causing your child a lot of worry. Help them to look for solutions.
  13. Allow them to be kids. Today's parents are often overwhelmed; try not to burden children with adult worries and responsibilities.
  14. Do encourage your children to be helpful. Assign them age-appropriate chores; feeling that we make an important contribution is important to all of us.
  15. Do not over-schedule. Allow some time for daydreaming and star gazing.
  16. Encourage and support your child's growth. Allow them to make some of their own decisions, but start small. By teaching them to be good decision-makers, you are instilling the confidence that they will need to be happy and successful not only at their childhood endeavors, but into adulthood, as well. Talk things through with them, but try to let your child draw his/her own conclusions. You can help by asking questions such as, "What do you think would be the best thing to do?" and then, "What do you think would happen if you do that?"
  17. Be involved. There is no greater gift than your time and attention.
  18. Express your love openly and often. Even when they are at an age where they may seem embarrassed by your affection, deep down children need to know that they are loved.


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