Let’s face it – kids are meant to be happy and full of life, but all too often these days we come across little ones that are sulky, moody, and just keen to get back on their mum’s iPad. Not ideal! So when I came across this Time article about happiness, I thought it had some good ideas that could be worth taking on and instilling in your children. There are the usual ones like learning to give, but here are a few more:
Teaching your kids to say a simple “thank you” might just seem like teaching manners, but you’re actually teaching happiness. Why? Because people who are grateful and appreciative are a lot happier – they see the good in life, it’ll help to improve their relationships, and they learn to make life better for the people around them.
Play to your strengths
Doing what you’re good at is bound to increase happy thoughts because of the resulting feelings of satisfaction and healthy pride. So it makes sense to encourage the unique talents of your child, even if it’s not the talent you may have wanted for them. She prefers basketball to ballet? Support her in developing that strength.
Develop good relationships
Research shows that the happiest people spend time with the people they care about and have solid relationships. I think that the first way to develop this in a child would be with the example of your relationship with them – spending quality time and talking, and getting them included when you’re socialising with family and friends (instead of staying locked away in their room).
Savour the moment
With so much technology and distraction, it’s hard to be really present and savour a moment – which is proven to lead to increased happiness. If the TV’s on, the kids don’t also have to be simultaneously on your iPhone camera and with their colouring book open in front of them. One at a time!
Keep learning and keep busy
Doing what is easy and therefore not growing as a person is not fulfilling: pushing yourself is. Sure, finishing that difficult homework or apologising to that classmate might not be fun or what they feel like doing, but it is so good for their character development. And speaking of doing things, busy people are happier – boredom and an unoccupied mind leaves time for unnecessary thoughts and a self-centred attitude.
When I try to spend time with my seven-year old sister, she often always complains that it’s not proper “bonding” because we haven’t gone out and spent money. So by sitting down to dinner with her, sometimes with one lit candle for extra effect, I’m trying to show her that there’s a lot – if not more – happiness to be found in little everyday moments than bigger, rarer events. After all, if we are always wishing for the big ones, we’ll be too distracted to enjoy the small joys of each day, of which there are plenty!