I was not always a happy person but once I understood that I am in control of my happiness, that it is within me, it was life changing. I am now a very happy mama and I want my children to understand happiness. I believe that happiness is the key to life and whatever path my children take in their lives my greatest hope for them is that they are happy. My greatest hope as a mama is creating a happy childhood for my children and raising happy people!
I love this quote from John Lennon:
I explain to my children that they are in charge of their own happiness and that they hold the key to their own happiness. I acknowledge that there are material things that can make you feel happy and explain that those material possessions are fleeting. Ultimately, happiness comes from within. In our family there are a few habits that we practice daily that I know will help my children have a happy childhood and grow to become happy adults.
Focus on the positive:
I am a very optimistic person and I try to model my optimism daily. When something positive happens in our life I stop to point it out. It can anything, the sun breaking through the clouds while playing at the beach, a kind word from a sibling, a new bloom on a flower, or being alive and enjoying a wonderful life together.
When something negative happens I show my children that it is often easy to change a negative moment into a positive one. I point out the bright side of a situation. Yes, it is raining so we cannot go to the festival but we can put on our boots and go play in the puddles! It is often very easy to redirect a child from a negative situation to positive.
Sometimes there are situations that cannot be turned into a positive. When these situations occur I explain that sometimes things happen that cannot be changed and that is how life is sometime and being upset will not help at all. I point out that if they waste energy and happiness on the things they can’t change, they will only become more frustrated and unhappy. During situations like this I like to turn on music and be silly or bring out a fun craft to lighten the mood.
Practice Self Manageable Habits:
I tell my children often that they are in charge of their own happiness. I show them that we are able to manage our moods through modeling. My children witness me taking deep breaths when needed and practicing positive self-talk, meditation, and gratitude.
I also focus on our bonds with one another and with the universe. They know that when you put out positive energy it will come back to you. Our family eats a healthy diet and we exercise. We know that if our body feels good and is healthy we are more likely to be happy.
Manage Your Mood:
I work with my children to help them understand how they are able manage their own moods. When they are in a bad mood they know that they need to make the decision to let that mood go and choose to change it. My children are 7, 4, and 2 so they often need some help changing their mood. We sit together and acknowledge their bad feeling and what it was that made them feel bad. Often, simply acknowledging the bad feeling causes it to go away. I share techniques that help me change a bad mood to good and offer them time to process and change their mood.
Once they are in a good mood I point out how much better a good mood feels. We may reflect on what caused their bad mood and how they may handle that trigger in the future to avoid feeling bad. My 7-year-old will often remove himself from a situation that is frustrating or upsetting him, take a break by himself, then return happy as can be. This takes practice and doesn’t work everytime but they are still very young. I think that by helping them work through their emotions and giving them power to control their own happiness will lead to more happiness in their lives.
Have Compassion & Empathy
I model compassion. When one of my children is having a hard time I do not yell at them, instead I choose gentle discipline. By modeling compassion I see it mirrored in my children when interacting with one another, their toys, and our animals.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
― Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness
My children are very empathetic to the suffering of others. They enjoy volunteering at the community garden where the food that they grow feeds people in need. The are very anxious to make bags to keep in our car filled with water and food to hand to people in need that we often see while traveling around town. Ava is the first to help another child on the playground. My children know that being empathetic and helping people makes them feel happy.
Keeping Bonds/Connections Secure:
I find it is so important to remain attached to my children. Our life can be crazy, busy, and hectic, and there are times when I can see that one of my kids is not having a good day and is maybe not feeling a strong connection with me. When I notice this, I take the time to focus on becoming close and reestablishing our bond through play, talk, and cuddles.
I offer my children unconditional love and try to meet all of their changing emotional needs. I also give them a voice, they know that if they have an emotional need is not being met and they use their words to tell me I will do everything I can to meet that need. A strong parental bond will lead my children to model the positive aspects of our relationship when they reach adulthood.
Have Fun And Play:
We often use music and dance to create happy mood. If my girls feel cranky they love to turn on music so they can dance and shake the ‘cranky’s out’, sometimes I help them by tickling them out, having fun and being silly is a great way to be happy!
I make sure my children have free time to play on their own and together. Open-ended play where children solve their own problems helps them use their own resources to maintain their happiness. When I observe my children having a disagreement I do not rush in to help, most times they are able to work together to find a solution that makes them all happy.
I feel that though parenting peacefully and modeling the appropriate behaviors will allow my children to enjoy a happy peaceful life and will grow to become happy peaceful adults.
How do you parent in order to raise happy children?
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