Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

How To Raise Happy Kids

on March 6, 2013

So this morning, a blurb about what works to raise happy kids on http://frugalgranola.com got me to thinking as to what is the most important thing a busy mom or dad could say, or do to encourage joy in their childrens’ lives; and to provide all the things that will endure throughout all the overscheduling, new, unpleasant or threatening situations, and peer pressure.

Ideas like: reminding them of their value, because God made them and loves them, encourage contentment instead of entitlement, insure that face time is greater than screen time are important to be sure. But what is the main idea that will help kids bring about the understanding and experiencing of a happy life? I believe it is much more profound than all the things mentioned above, and also, choosing praise words, allowing kids to correct their mistakes, and helping kids to set goals. It’s not just concerning yourself with sharing what happiness looks like, or trying to eliminate negativity from daily situations and events for your kids. It’s much more that all these wonderful strategies.

How do you really give your kids the gift of lasting happiness? You take stabs at praising them, by showering them with their hearts’ desires, and lending a helpful hand when they struggle. Those external motivators are great but are they lasting? They last about as long as a McDonald’s Happy Meal or an ice cream cone!

Teaching your children that true happiness comes from “within” themselves rather than from “without” is the secret to being happy now and all through their lives! The simplicity of this concept is staggering, when you give it some thought, but it is truly the foundation of lifelong joy. To raise children who know how to sustain a joyful, fulfilled life is the goal of parents to be sure. This unique approach – one that depends on the development of certain inner qualities, including respect, trust, self-esteem, and a sense of playful enthusiasm toward life in general sounds so simplistic, yet it is a sure fire way to lead children to the happy and contented lives they were meant to live. To share this in another short way is that happiness relies on self-sustained love! Oddly enough, I did not learn and live this secret from a book, teacher, video, class, or the internet. I acquired this life long skill from my mom! She would often say as I grew up, and many times before I went on a date as a young adult:”Don’t rely on others to make you happy. Make your own good time (happiness), you have it within you!

Here are some workable, practical and concrete applications to develop and instill the inner qualities that lead to a lifetime of being open-minded, patient, and non-judgemental. The following steps can help you lay the groundwork for your childrens’ joyful approach to life.

Foster A Can-Do Attitude. This is one of the reliable defenses against anxiety and depression. Children watch and learn from how you deal with disappointment in your daily life, athletic event, or perhaps when you’re cut off in traffic. Encourage competition but make sure that both winning and losing are dealt with the same positive attitude that includes other opportunities to shine when disappointment is evident.
Humor is a great way to deal with pain, or bits of home spun philosophy. Simply seeing you never giving up is also very powerful.

Connect With Others . More than any other single factor you can control, connection is the key to rewarding relationships. Connection, in the form of unconditional love from an adult helps foster self-confidence. Create an atmosphere at home in which your children feel safe, cared for, welcomed, and treated fairly.

Schedule Unstructured Play. Unstructured play sharpens childrens’ imagination, and teaches critical problem solving. It also helps foster childrens’ learning that doing things again and again lead to mastery.

Create Opportunities for Mastery. With mastery comes confidence, initiative, and leadership skills. It tranforms children from reluctant, fearful learners into motivated individuals. Once kids feel the potent sensation of success, they’ll want to “go there” again and again.

Provide Praise and Recognition. The feeling of being valued by others is key. We adults too quickly forget how much words of praise were so important to us as kids. It meant the world to us, and to kids today it still does. Recognition in turn provides the sense of connection that all children need and deserve.

That’s all for now. Your comments will be well received. I look forward to hearing what you’re thinking about. I’d like to address the issues that are important to you and your children. Happy Parenting!

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