While kids don’t exactly come with an instruction manual, there are ways you can improve the happiness levels in your home. Alison Leader reports.
We all want our kids to be happy, but sometimes we don’t know where to start in the journey to becoming better parents.
It’s well understood that over-scheduling our kids with sports classes, music lessons, and art classes can cause kids to be stressed and anxious. But we don’t always know what the alternative is. Sometimes we forget that most children are actually happy by nature. They don’t have the pressure of the world on their shoulders. They’re able to experience joy through the small things in life. They enjoy learning and seeing new places such as the shopping centre, especially when they’re young.
So how can we tap into our child’s innate happiness? How can we form a bond with our kids that will last a lifetime?
Here are five tips for boosting your child’s happiness levels in simple, inexpensive ways.
1. Play with your child.
Play is your child’s language. And by play I mean getting down on the floor and interacting with them. Take delight in playing with your child. Start by playing at the park or pulling out a board game.
When parents play with their children, it helps boost their self-esteem and teaches them how to interact with others. So why not brainstorm ways to play, and enjoy acting like a kid again yourself?
2. Allow your kids to do things for themselves.
Allowing your child to test the waters will give them a sense of independence. I know it’s hard sometimes, but it helps teach them that making mistakes is OK.
Think back to the first time you successfully rode a bike, or made pikelets. Maybe it took a few times to get it right. But in the end, you felt good. This is the feeling you want your child to have. It will help them try new things as they get older.
3. Set limits for your child.
You don’t have to be the parent that says “yes” to everything. Most children don’t like to go to bed or do their chores. This doesn’t mean you let them off the hook. It’s alright if they get upset with you.
4. Read to your child.
Reading helps children’s brains develop and builds the bond between parent and child. Let your son or daughter help with picking stories for you to share, and make a space for Storytime every day.
Make reading a part of your routine and it will become an activity you both look forward to.
5. Make time for yourself.
As a parent, it’s easy to put yourself last. But you need to spend time doing things you find fun and fulfilling outside of the role of Mum or Dad.
Even when you find your time stretched thin, add a little space for yourself, even if it’s only 10 minutes. Take a bubble bath, go for a walk, or watch a funny YouTube video. Happy parents make happy kids.
As parents we need to make time for ourselves because if we’re not taking care of ourselves we’re not teaching our children how to take care of themselves. Rather than overscheduling our kids, we need to raise resilient kids who know how to rest and recuperate—and whose parents know the value of self-care.
As a parent, you’re doing the best you can. Nobody expects you to be perfect. We all make mistakes. Psychologists often tell parents that “good enough” parenting is the goal. A good-enough parent is a parent that makes mistakes. It’s OK to mess up sometimes, and it’s even better if you can admit to your child that what you did was wrong.
Remember to go easy on yourself. Talk to your friends and family about your struggles. Be open, and ask for help when you need to. Maybe your friends need your support too, and you can share each other’s burdens. We’re not meant to do this journey alone.