As parents, we always think about how we can be able to provide more for our children by earning more income, we think about how to help our child get good grades in school, we also think about their achievements, goals and so much more
And while we are thinking about all that, we sometime fail to think about what makes our children happy.
There was once a generation where playtime for kids equals to days spent outdoors and very little gadgets.
Imaginations ran wild and kids made their own fun with nothing but a few markings on the ground and jumping around playing catching. Just little beanbags alone provided so much fun. They played, they learned, and they socialized. But most of all, they found some happiness.
In today’s society life seems too structured. We need to go to certain classes, do certain school projects, graduate with certain criterias to get into better schools and thereafter, better jobs. Gone are the days of free play and creating something out of nothing. Many kids today are simply following a routine.
That’s not to say that kids aren’t happy, because many kids are. Many kids live a life full of adventure and wonder in their own backyards. But many don’t. Many simply follow the plan. And that’s a shame, because childhood should be all about happiness.
How can we focus on happiness when there is always so much to do? We can start by taking a breath (don’t worry, that enormous pile of laundry will wait for you), and then we can take a few cues from happy kids.
5 Secrets of Happy Kids:
1. Eating on time.
A simple strategy and is in fact quite common sense but often overlooked. Adults often have plans for lavish meals, proper diet or nice ambiance before having our meals. However, for a child, none of that matters and all they want is food to satisfy their hunger.
Having meals at regular intervals recharges their growing brains and bodies and keeps hunger under control. When kids are calm and satisfied, they experience greater happiness.
2. Consistent sleep.
Similar to eating. Sleep is also an important factor for happiness. As parents, we all go through the stages of the day when our child gets cranky because they are due for nap time and we know how terrible it will get if we cannot somehow coax them to sleep.
Kids need to learn how to sleep and it is up to us to teach them. When they are completely exhausted, they are cranky. When they are well-rested and ready to embrace the day, they are happier. Make sleep and a consistent bedtime a priority.
3. To express emotions and feel heard.
Kids can produce the most adorable laughter and at the same time create the most annoying scene right in the middle of a shopping mall. Let them be. Kids are like adults. We all have the need to express our emotions. As adults we are sensible enough to call a friend and vent our frustrations or share our happiness but our kids are unaware of such an avenue.
A public scolding will not help when kids are in their destructive mode. Let them vent in their own little way and then offer to help. Enduring a public temper tantrum might feel overwhelming in the moment, but it’s better than a lifetime of internalizing negative emotions that could lead to eating issues, depression or other emotional problems for your child.
4. Make their own choices.
Kids are constantly being told where to go, what to do and what to eat resulting in very little control over their lives. We could change this by empowering them with some daily routines. Let them choose what to wear. Let them decide what to eat at least for one meal a day. Give them the opportunity to make some decisions and watch them smile in return.
Kids will be kids. They mess up, they make mistakes, but who doesn’t. Childhood is all about trial and error, and kids need to be given a chance on that as well. Forgive them. Love them anyway.
When kids know that their parents love and support them no matter what, they are more likely to take healthy risks. They are confident and secure in their decisions. They learn that sometimes people make mistakes, but there is always a chance to right a wrong.
When children know that their parents will always be there for them, for better or for worse, they are happy.