“Helping your child learn how to be happy always is the best gift you as a parent can give to your child,” says Dr. Jyotsana, Principal of Queen Global International School. Most children tend to look at their surrounding and learn to mimic reactions. Hence understanding the world through what they see and believe to be appropriate.
Here are a few ways to teach them so.
1. Be an Example for Them: There is no doubt that each child comes with his own temperament. However, in general, children of happy parents learn to remain happy themselves. Laughter is contagious, they say. So take time out for yourself, enjoy a few things that you like doing, remain stress-free. When your kids see you in a happy mood, they will cheer up too.
2. Foster Relationships: Help the child build positive relationships with you, other family members, caretakers, friends and neighbours. Connectedness is a feeling of being loved, understood and wanted. It provides a sense of security that is important for emotional well-being.
3. Appreciate the Effort, Not the Result or Natural Ability: Parents who over-emphasize their child’s achievements or inbuilt abilities are likely to have kids with higher levels of depression and anxiety. This is because a child who is used to being praised for their natural abilities tends to become cautious of not wanting to lose their status as the smart or talented kid. They tend to get over-anxious if they do not achieve the desired result. Praising the effort teaches them to focus on the process of doing rather than the result.
4. Be Optimistic: Practice being optimistic and encourage the same in your kids. Research shows that optimistic people are more successful at work, healthier, more satisfied in the marriages.
5. Teach Self-Discipline: Children who are better able to resist temptations go on to have happier lives as adults. To start with, teach kids to distract themselves from temptations.
6. Increase Playtime: By this, I mean free, unstructured play time. Playing outdoors, in an unstructured way along with friends/peers promotes emotional intelligence in children. Thereby, leading to happier selves.
7. Less TV: More and more children are spending time indoors glued to their screens. They loose out on the opportunity to have social interactions and develop into happy, well-adjusted adults.
8. Help Your Child to be a Happy Loser: Happiness is in the process, not the result. Encourage your child to feel happy for others, even if it meant him losing. Don’t scream at your child for losing.
9. Allow for Imperfections: All humans have flaws in them. In an effort to bring out the best in them, parents and elders make it a habit to go on correcting the child’s flaws. If your child has little idiosyncrasies, minor flaws, let them be. It makes them who they are. It will teach them to accept others as they are. On the other hand, constant nit-picking will teach them to do the same with others.
10. Teach Them the Difference Between Needs and Wants: Our needs are few – water, air, food, shelter. Beyond that, every desire is a want. Teach them that it is possible to be happy even when wants are not met. Make space for learning experiences where their wants are not met. Don’t make the effort to fulfill each and every desire of your child. It’s okay if your child has to make do with a smaller gift because you felt lazy to take the car out and get him the best.
Most importantly, practice what you preach. Incorporate all these elements into your daily life to increase your happiness quotient. Your child will follow suit.
Stay Tuned! Stay Relevant!