When parents are asked what they want from their children, the majority will say to raise happy kids.
There are plenty of resources that discuss raising smart children, but what about happy kids?
It can be challenging to find the right balance between what is right for a child and what makes them happy. But both of them actually go hand-in-hand.
A successful adult is probably one that had a happy childhood.
However, there is no doubt that raising a happy kid in today’s world is a lot more challenging. With unlimited access to the internet and social media, it is easy for a child to compare their life to others.
How to raise happy kids?
Raising a happy child is not about giving them everything they want. It is the exact opposite of that.
It is about equipping them with the right mindset so they can be satisfied and content with what they have.
Every parent can raise happy kids by giving them the following :
- Healthy lifestyle
- Growth mindset attitude
- Positive role models
We will go through each of those points and learn how we can raise happy kids. But before that let’s go through some happy kids quotes.
Happy kids quotes:
- “Allow children to be happy in their own way, for what better way will they find” Samuel Jackson
- “A child who sings is a happy child” Elder Enrique
- “Seeing my child happy is the best feeling in the world” JoyMom
- “In all this world there is nothing more beautiful than a happy child” Frank Baum
- “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see” John F. Kennedy
- “The best way to make children good is to make them happy” Unknown
- “Play is the absence of stress.” ~ Poole
- “Supporting children to play requires us to remember what life is all about. It’s not about getting from A-Z, but rather dreaming beyond both.” ~ Vince Gowmon
- “Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” ~ Mr. Rogers
- “Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.” ~ Paula Poundstone
1. Healthy lifestyle to raise happy kids:
Outdoor play to boost happiness in kids
Encourage your child to play outdoors. This can be playing in the playground, collecting stones, jumping in puddles, and more.
Outdoor play can lighten up a child’s mood, no matter how bad her/his day has gone.
Being outside gives an instant boost in happiness also a chance for a child to improve their social skills.
Make it a point that at least once a day your child gets to go out and play.
Psst, don’t forget to use the activity sheet below to help children understand how special they are.
2. Encourage exercise to raise happy kids
Exercising is a great way to not just reduce illness but to also boost self-esteem.
It is important that children feel that exercising is a fun physical activity.
You can encourage your child to choose the type of exercise they would like to do. For example, some children would enjoy team-lead exercise while others might prefer running or riding a bike (or kids balance bike if they’re still learning).
Let your child decide what he/she enjoys as this will encourage them to stick with it.
3. Meditate as a family
Even a child can feel anxious. Meditation and simple breathing exercising can quickly calm a child.
Spend a few minutes in the evening before bedtime to meditate with your child.
Make this a routine like brushing your teeth before bedtime.
Meditation can help a child relax.
You can also encourage your child to do some mindful coloring as part of their meditation.
4. Sing and dance
In this very busy world, we can sometimes forget to have fun with our children.
Studies have shown that singing releases endorphins, which is associated with a feeling of pleasure.
Take some time in the evening and sing with your kids. Choose a song that you all enjoy and dance to the music.
The instant bonding you have with your kids will amaze you.
5. Journal their thoughts
Journaling is a good way for a child to reflect on their emotions and thoughts.
It is a positive way to also reflect on their feelings. Journaling encourages children to think about how their day went and what they can do to make tomorrow a better day.
Also, not everything can be captured with a selfie. Writing down memories can bring back many emotions that a picture cannot describe.
By writing down their holiday, time spent with family, or how their day went, your child can reflect on those moments.
You can check out the Awesome Adventure Journal that provides daily prompts to help children with filling in their journal
Use the growth mindset kit below to help children recognize their potential
6. Uninterrupted family meals
As parents, we feel it is easier to give younger kids a tablet to keep them quiet at the table especially when dining out.
But kids are missing out on important social skills that come with interacting with people instead of screens.
For younger kids meals are the best time for them to practice listening, paying attention, and taking turns when speaking.
In fact, one study found that teens who eat meals with their families have more positive views of the future.
Related : Here’s how you can have a screen-free dinner.
Volunteering helps kids to understand the value of giving back to the community.
Kids can volunteer in hospitals, animal shelters, and homes for the elderly.
Kids can also use their spare time to help neighbors in need. If your kid is older, urge them to visit elderly neighbors who require assistance.
Whether it is an older adult who needs help with cleaning the compound or support with the young ones, community service helps kids to feel good about themselves.
2. Growth Mindset Attitude for happy kids
A growth mindset is about believing that everything is achievable with hard work and perseverance.
Children that have a growth mindset will embrace challenges and not be afraid to fail. They are able to differentiate between failing and learning opportunities.
Instead of using the word” fail”, they see it as a learning opportunity to expand their knowledge and be better at the task the next time.
With a positive attitude and efforts, they will shift their thinking from “I can’t do this”, to “I will try”.
Examples of growth mindset:
- I am ready to ask for help
- Progress takes time
- I like to learn new things
- Success needs effort
- I am inspired by others
Developing a growth mindset to raise happy kids:
A growth mindset is something that can be achieved in one night. It is a process that takes time and effort.
It is about changing our behavior and attitude towards our circumstances.
A well-known author in this field, Dweck, pointed out that praising your child is the first step in developing a growth mindset. This is not the normal praise we give our child after completing a task.
The praise here focuses on their effort of trying and the process of learning.
It is about recognizing the child’s willingness to try something new regardless of the outcome.
Example of growth mindset activities:
- Practicing gratitude
- Willingness to learn and try new things
- Goal setting activities
- Not afraid to ask for help
- Willingness to give back to others and many more
Related : You can read here for more growth mindset activities for children
You can also check out the Personalised Growth Mindset Kit made for children.
3. Be a positive role model
As parents, we can sometimes be screen-obsessed. The constant notifications on our phone and the need to reply instantly can make us ignore our children.
We do not do it intentionally but our children might feel like they are competing with our smartphones for attention.
This can cause frustration among many children.
Dedicate some time away from your devices when your children are around. For example, spend the evening just playing together without any distractions.
Keep all gadgets stored in the cupboard so no one has access to it. By doing so, we are setting a positive example to our children.
Do remember that our children will most likely mimic our habits and behavior. If we want them to grow up being a well-balanced person then we need to show them how to do it.
Children do not need to happy all the time. It is normal to feel sad and other emotions like anger and fear. It is all part of growing up.
The point of raising happy kids is to equip them with the skills to cope during a hard time and be able to be grateful for what they have.
It is your job to give them the tools so they can find happiness wherever they go. But it is up to the child to feel happy or not.
Finally, the best way to raise happy kids is to provide them with an environment where they feel loved and safe.
Finally, before you go don’t forget to check this out
The growth-mindset kit made to help kids discover challenges with confidence.
packed with amazing worksheets, including ways to manage anxiety and helping children develop positive habits.