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When we think about our job as parents, two things usually come up. The first is making sure you raise a good human- no one wants to raise an asshole. And the second thing that we all want is to raise a happy child. No parent ever hopes to raise a dismal child or one that never smiles. It’s just not what we wish for. But, how can you ensure that you raise a happy child? Parenting is not easy and more often than not, it may seem like our kids are always angry or upset. So how do we do it? How can we raise a happy child?
Well. I’m going to be real honest. I’m not exactly sure because I’m still working on it too. I have read several books on raising happy kids and I’d like to share some of that wisdom with you!
Characteristics of a Happy Child
We have to start by thinking about building a happy child- what things go into making sure our kids are happy?
How can I teach my child to be happy?
This is a really, really simple answer. Let them play. Yep. Play. Playtime isn’t just goofing off. It’s essential to helping kids grow and learn. And if you really want to double up on the happy, play with your child.
Here’s what Dr. Carter had to say on the power of play:
Most kids already practice mindfulness — fully enjoying the present moment — when they play. but kids today spend less time playing both indoors and out… All told, over the last two decades, children have lost eight hours per week of free, unstructured, and spontaneous play… Researchers believe that this dramatic drop in unstructured playtime is in part responsible for slowing kids cognitive and emotional development… In addition to helping kids learn to self-regulate, child-led, unstructured play (with or without adults) promoted intellectual, physical, social, and emotional well-being. Unstructured play helps children learn how to work in groups, to share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, regulate their emotions and behavior, and speak up for themselves.
-Dr. Christine Carter, Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents
What makes a happy child?
This part is pretty straightforward: Accept your child for who they are, not who you think they should be. Be attentive to their needs, take their fears seriously, and really listen when they speak to you. Above all, make sure they know that you love them without qualification.
Sounds easy enough, right? But, in all fairness, those principles are fairly abstract. You don’t want abstract, do you? You want to know exactly what to do step by step to ensure you raise a happy child.
Don’t worry- I’ve got you. I’ve listed out 10 steps that have been backed by science to ensure our kids grow up to be happy, functional adults. Ready?
Steps to Raise a Happy Child
- Get Happy Yourself
- Teach Them To Build Relationships
- Expect Effort, Not Perfection
- Teach Optimism
- Teach Emotional Intelligence
- Form Happiness Habits
- Teach Self-Discipline
- More Playtime
- Rig Their Environment For Happiness
- Eat Dinner Together
Boom. Ten simple steps to raise a happy child. Which one will you implement first?
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