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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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    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.

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    Anum Yoon

    Writer & Journalist

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

    7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

    What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

    For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

    It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

    1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

    The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

    What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

    The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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    2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

    Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

    How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

    If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

    Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

    3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

    Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

    If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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    These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

    What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

    4. What are my goals in life?

    Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

    Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

    5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

    Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

    Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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    You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

    Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

    6. What do I not like to do?

    An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

    What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

    Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

    The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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    7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

    Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

    But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

    “What do I want to do with my life?”

    So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

    Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

    Reference

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