All parents strive to raise healthy, successful, smart kids. Yet, all of these factors are very dependent on one other important one – that the child is happy. It’s not without reason that emphasis on emotional health and intelligence has gained a lot of ground in recent years. Here are 10 ways to raise happy kids:
1. Take good care of yourself.
To be able to assume the responsibility of another human being all round the clock is hard. The only way we can make it easier is to take care of ourselves. Identify physical and emotional triggers that can make you lose it. A healthy mind is in a healthy body is the key phrase here.
2. Be consistent with discipline.
Kids may seem like that are rebelling against rules. However, experts agree that they are actually grateful for a structure and rules in their lives. Being consistent with house rules and consequences gives them the much-needed sense of stability and helps them make better decisions.
3. Focus on the effort.
Lose the limelight on the result and focus on the effort they put in. The objective of a good education is not a good score on a test. It is about honing the ability to create a goal and sticking to it through several factors- even demotivators. This, in other words, is called developing the “growth mindset.”
4. Keep the communication on top of your priority list.
Several teenagers report that the real reason for depression is the “communication gap” between generations. More and more teenagers are reporting depression and suicidal tendencies because nobody “gets them”. However, teenagers cannot be expected to connect with their parents when they are in the throes of hormones and intense emotions. The channel has to be established from very early on.
5. Be optimistic…
When children see parents consistently project a positive attitude, it becomes the natural thing for them. Plus, communication becomes so much easier in a positive environment. Avoid complaining about your boring jobs or your high rentals too much in the presence of the kids. Take an effort to reinforce optimism.
6. But keep it real.
The myth of the happy family is also real. Avoiding all negative emotions and feelings from your kids is just as bad as exposing them to it too much. Kids who do not see negative emotions in the family are less equipped to process feelings like sadness, anger and disappointment- which are inevitable parts of growing up.
7. Give them fewer toys.
Having fewer toys helps kids explore on their own a lot. Children have the unique ability to create new games and make a plaything out of anything at all – so loud, blaring ‘educational’ toys could have the opposite effect. Plus, it solves the problem called “entitlement’ to a great extent.
8. Leave them on their own.
Parents who are overly anxious about the abilities of their children have earned a new title for themselves -helicopter parents . The truth is – kids adapt faster than we can even imagine and it will only get better if they don’t find us hovering around them all the time, barring when they are in danger. Children are known to show better instincts, social skills and presence of mind in environments where they are on their own.
9. Give them responsibilities.
Children who are handed regular chores have shown improved mental, social and emotional cognition. It is also how we reinforce that importance of forming and keeping social relationships and keeping it all balanced. It is important to have their chores address the “empathy” factor and include family chores– like dusting the furniture or vacuuming the house and not limited to cleaning their own rooms.
10. Teach them gratitude.
Children raised with an attitude of gratitude are known to show more resilience and a reduced tendency to be depressed. Just like everything else, a grateful attitude gets better with practice. Reinforcing simple rituals like writing 2 things they are grateful for everyday, or 3 things they liked about their day are great ways to get started on this very important life-skill.
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