Happy children: useful tips
What makes the little ones happy? Various child development experts have claimed that happiness is not something that can be given as a gift to a child. Instead, it is something that can be taught to them.
Edward Hallowell, psychiatrist and author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, said children who are overly spoiled, who have too many toys, or who are continually protected by their parents, are more likely to become bored, cynical and unhappy teens.
The psychiatrist reiterated: "The best indicators of future happiness are internal, not external." Fortunately, you don't have to be an expert in child psychology to encourage children to find the inner strength and wisdom they need to get through life's ups and downs. With patience and flexibility, any parent it can lay the foundation for a happy life and for having happy children.
Here, according to the Spanish site Babycenter, 9 useful tips, also supported by the psychiatrist Hallowell and other experts, to raise a happy child.
In this article
- Learn to read your children's emotions
- Have fun together
- Help them hone their talents
- Create healthy habits
- Let them try to solve their "problems"
- Allow them to be sad and angry
- Listen to them
- Teach them to think of others
- Be a role model
1. Learn to read your children's emotions
Your child knows very well how to show you when something makes him happy or sad. His little face lights up with a huge smile if you suddenly come home. Instead, the little one cries inconsolably when he can't find his beloved teddy bear.
However, you may be wondering if he is happy. THE signs of happiness may be obvious: a happy child smiles, plays, is curious, shows interest in other children, and does not need constant stimulation. Conversely, Hallowell says, the signs of an unhappy child could be just as clear: "He's closed, quiet, doesn't eat much, doesn't spontaneously get involved with other children, doesn't play, doesn't ask questions, doesn't laugh or smile, and talks very little. ".
But just because a child is shy or withdrawn, doesn't laugh or interact a lot, doesn't mean they're unhappy. Shyness is not the same as sadness, but you will certainly have to work harder to decipher its signals. If so, Hallowell indicates that you need to be careful to see if there are any significant changes in his behavior (eg he becomes isolated or fearful) that could suggest a problem.
Paul C. Holinger, a professor of psychiatry at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, identified nine innate signals that children use to communicate their feelings. You can recognize these signs in your children. Two signals are "interest" and "pleasure" and they are positive feelings, while three negative signals, in particular "anguish", "anger" and "fear", indicate that the child is unhappy.
Most parents recognize that a frightened and distressed child is not a happy child, but Holinger noted that many parents do not recognize that an angry child usually also expresses sadness. Regardless of age, «the anger is linked to aexcessive distressSays Holinger. When your child hits his brother or throws toys, it means that he is distressed beyond his tolerance level.
Your child probably has his own way of showing you that he is having a hard time. Some retreat and others throw tantrums, while others get too attached to mom or dad. By getting to know your child's temperament better, you will understand better if something is wrong with his world.
Read also: Education: the 7 fundamental skills to become parents with self-control
2. Have fun together
This is the first step in raising a happy child according to Hallowell. "Play with them," advises the professor. "If you have fun with them, they have fun too».
Play creates joy, but it is also your child's way of developing essential skills for his future happiness. The unstructured game will allow you to find out what he likes to do (building towers of wooden blocks, etc.) and this can guide him towards a career that will satisfy him ».Read also: The importance of play for children
3. Help them hone their talents
According to Hallowell happy people are often the ones who have learned a skill. For example, when the child tries multiple times to throw a ball at you, he learns from his mistakes, learns tenacity and discipline, and then experiences the joy of being successful through his own efforts.
Above all, he finds that he has some control over his life. Trying to do something, he will sooner or later have the satisfaction of realizing that thanks to his tenacity, he will achieve what he set out to do. Studies show that this feeling of control, experienced through mastering a skill, is a major factor in determine the happiness of adults. And i children, like adults, they must pursue their own interests or there will be no joy in their results.
4. Create healthy habits for the little ones
Get enough sleep, exercise and eat a healthy diet these habits are important for everyone's well-being, especially children. Give your child time to running outdoors: it will help him with his moods.
And pay attention to the need for order in his life: Although some children adapt easily to different times and circumstances, most of them are happier with a set schedule that lets them know what's going to happen.
Pay attention to any connections between your child's mood and certain foods. Some parents find that sugar can give the child energy, but it can also cause mood swings and aggressive behavior. Food allergies and sensitivities can also play a role in a child's behavior and mood.Read also: Feeding children: the food that nourishes intelligence
5. Let them try to solve their "problems"
Some parents believe that raising a happy child means solve all his problems. Ma Carrie Masia-Warner, a child psychologist and deputy director of the Institute for Anxiety and Mood Disorders at the New York University School of Medicine, sees this as a grave mistake made by numerous loving and well-meaning parents.
Masia-Warner said: «Children need to learn a tolerate some anguish. Let them fight, understand things for themselves, because this allows them to learn to deal with problems ».
Hallowell agrees that allowing children to have a variety of experiences (even difficult or frustrating ones) helps them fill the reserve of "inner strength", which leads to happiness.
Learn to deal with the inevitable frustrations of life it is crucial for your child's future happiness. This does not mean that children should not ask for help if they need it, but your job is to help them find a solution on their own (and not to provide it).
If the child develops a sense of independence and confidence, he can develop even greater self-esteem and happiness. One way to help your little one develop these qualities is let it play alone for 10-15 minutes, many times a day.Read also: Helicopter parents: who they are and why they are harmful to their children
6. Allow them to be sad or angry
When your child goes into a corner at a birthday party and pouts, your natural reaction may be to get him to join the other kids and have fun. But it is important allow him to be unhappy.
Children need to know that sometimes it is normal to feel unhappy. It is part of life. AND if we try to save him from all misery, we could send him the message that it is wrong to feel sad. We need to make them feel various feelings, including sadness.
You can encourage him to give feelings a name and express them verbally. Young children very quickly understand words that have to do with their emotional state (such as "happy" or "angry"). And when they manage to translate their emotions into words, they also acquire a new ability to recognize and regulate their feelings.Read also: Children's emotions, everything you need to know
7. Listen to them
According to Hallowell, the best way to know if your child is happy is simple: listen to him. The psychiatrist said: “I ask my children so much if they are happy that they often roll their eyes. But it's the best way to let them know I'm interested. '
Masia-Warner agrees that having an open channel of communication with the child is essential to understanding this. If the child seems sad, ask him, “Is there anything you would like to tell me? Is something bothering you? ». And then let him talk and, if he doesn't want to, try again the next day. It may take a few days and maybe, without warning, she will start crying about something that happened the week before.
If you think your child is having a hard time, talk to teachers or with the parents of his friends, to see if they noticed anything.
Often children are sad or upset about something causes stress in the environment in which they grow up: an argument with a friend, a problem with a brother or a tension at home.
Other times, the source of the malaise is more severe. If the child's symptoms of sadness persist and you notice excessive behavior (he doesn't want to go to school, has trouble eating or sleeping, etc.), talk to your child's doctor.Read also: Sadness, 4 ways children express it
8. Teach them to think of others
Teach them the importance of helping others and the satisfaction it comes from doing so. Some studies show that the people interested in everything around them and helping others they tend to feel less depressed.
Furthermore, experts suggest that helping others it is an important part of family life and children can greatly benefit from it.
9. Be a role model
According to Dora Wang, a professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, various studies show that you can pass your temperament to your children not necessarily through genes, but through your behavior e your way of educating them.
For better or for worse, children (even the very young ones) they perceive the moods of their parents. In other words, when you smile, your child smiles and his brain "prepares" to smile.
If you love the little things in life and often express gratitude for them, you will be a positive role model for your child. Teach them to see the bright side of any situation. Express joy for what you have, instead of showing sadness for what you don't have.
That it does not mean that you have to hide negative emotions. Through your behavior you can make your child understand that sadness is part of life and that positive aspects can always be found.
However, if you are always stressed or depressed, it is important that you seek help. “Parents who tend to be depressed are often not good at consistently providing discipline and order, or at praising their children and having constant fun with them. There is a risk of children developing emotional problems, ”Masia-Warner said.Read also: How to find the parenting modality that belongs to us
- tips for happy children
- children education