Advertising
Advertising

10 Scientifically-Based Ways To Raise Happy Kids

10 Scientifically-Based Ways To Raise Happy Kids

We all know the feeling–we just can’t spend enough time with our kids. We feel guilty that it is affecting their growth.

Recent good news might help ease your guilt. A new study that determined quality time with kids holds less sway than parent education and stress levels. Trying to cram in more time, especially when you’re grumpy or irritable, just isn’t the answer.

So what do you do during those times together? Here are 10 scientific tips for raising healthy, happy kids.

1. Nurture your child

Showing your children how much you love them doesn’t only nurture your relationship with them—it can help form a strong bond and contribute to a child’s ability to create lasting bonds into adulthood. Parent nurturing could be related to the size of a preschooler’s hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

Don’t underestimate the power of a kiss on the cheek. Respond to your children with emotion. Tell them you love them. Speak kindly to them.

Advertising

2. Model responsible behavior

For kids to develop into responsible, productive citizens, they must witness responsible, productive citizens. And that starts with you. Sociologists have shown that children will imitate behaviors they witness in their parents.

Be the kind of person you want your child to be. With each action or decision, ask yourself if this is how you want your child to react in the future.

3. Objectively mediate sibling conflicts

Research shows that parents who successfully mediate conflicts between siblings have children who eventually deal better with conflict.

When a conflict arises between siblings, demonstrate active listening techniques and other mediation skills.

4. Read with your kids

Reading with your kids induces healthy changes in several brain regions. These changes seem to be more prevalent when you read with your kids, not to your kids. Ask your children what they are thinking about the story or how it relates to other things they know.

Advertising

5. Create unstructured playtime

According to experts, free playtime encourages imaginative thought and problem-solving skills. They become better at asking “what if” and determining alternative solutions to difficult or complex situations.

While it can be tempting to structure every hour of the day to make sure it’s filled with important activities, don’t forget to leave open time for kids to explore and imagine.

6. Teach them to use technology wisely

Conventional wisdom used to be that face time with a screen was unhealthy for kids. In fact, several studies show that the time spent watching television can both predict and cause depression.

Not so fast, though. Technology is an integral part of today’s existence. In 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and private companies spent nearly $3 billion on technology education because it is so necessary to participate in today’s world. Access to technology makes learning more engaging, as four out of five students said using a tablet helped them in class.

Advertising

Evolution of Tech in the Classroom - 4

    Rather than simply shutting out electronics, practice healthy habits such as setting time limits on usage and asking children what they’ve learned on their laptop or tablet that day.

    7. Be authoritative

    Parenting styles can be broken down into four major categories: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and uninvolved. Science has consistently held that authoritative parenting—authority with communication—yields the best results.

    Don’t be afraid to put your foot down when it comes to major issues. However, in doing this, make sure you communicate your feelings and concerns, as well as why a certain behavior yields a certain consequence or punishment.

    8. Let them fail

    In today’s everyone-gets-a-trophy world, it can seem counter-cultural to allow your kids to fail when they struggle. However, failure can be an extremely important lesson. Studies show that failing actually leads to greater productivity throughout life and helps develop advanced problem solving skills.

    9. Take care of yourself

    Research demonstrates than parental stress can affect a child’s physical or mental well-being. In addition, mood disorders and perhaps even autism may be linked to parental stress, both pre- and post-childbirth.

    Advertising

    Figure out what you need to maintain your happiness and sanity. If it means finding a babysitter so you can treat yourself to a movie once a week or enrolling in college classes to get a degree, taking care of yourself is critical in taking care of your child.

    10.  Teach them to share

    It’s better to give than to receive. Research shows that sharing improves a child’s disposition. For instance, toddlers who were asked to give away treats to other toddlers showed greater happiness than others.

    Start young by asking your children to share snacks with you, and share with them. Make the event a special treat so that the habit becomes natural, and always show your gratitude when they want to share.

    More by this author

    Anum Yoon

    Writer & Journalist

    Taxes: 10 Terms You Should Know If You Want to File By Yourself This Year Weird Laws Around the World That You’ve Never Heard Of Six Unconventional Ways to Become a Homeowner 10 Underrated Netflix Movies And Shows To Binge Watch During The Cold Weather Can Self-Driving Cars Be Ethical?

    Trending in Communication

    1 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 2 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 3 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 4 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

    Advertising

    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

    Advertising

    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

    Advertising

    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

    Advertising

    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

    More Articles About Effective Communication

    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next