Shaping a happy childhood
Guest Post by Erica Johnson
What can a parent do to foster a happy environment for kids?
Make Time for Your Child
Whether it's reading together, tossing a ball around, or mixing up some brownies in the kitchen, carving out quality time with your kiddo is essential to his or her emotional health. Giving your child some time where your focus is on only him or her can reaffirm that you'll be present when times get tough.
According to LiveScience.com, you should try to eliminate distractions during this time. If you're on your phone during your special time together, you could end up sending the message that you're prioritizing the phone instead of him or her.
Don't Worry; Be Happy!
In Christine Carter, PhD's book Raising Happiness, she explains:
"Extensive research has established a substantial link between mothers who feel depressed and 'negative outcomes' in their children, such as acting out and other behavioral problems."
If you're feeling stressed or down, take a much-needed time out! A date with your spouse or a night out with friends can recharge your mental batteries and help you be a better parent.
Going out not your thing?
When you're feeling stressed throughout the day, try jamming out with your babe to your favorite tunes or take a stroll with your little one while chatting about what you see. You can find a helpful guide to choosing the best stroller here.
*Note: If you feel blue for prolonged periods of time, speak with your doctor about managing your symptoms.
Help Your Child Balance Work and Play
Structured and unstructured activities are both key components of your child's development. If you and your child are constantly running back and forth between dance classes, piano lessons, math tutoring, playdates, and educational field trips, you might need to leave a blank space in your planner.
Self-directed play allows your child to exercise control over his or her own life and to feel freer and happier overall. Encourage your child to have free time outdoors whenever possible; according to an article from CBC.ca, "Kids are often more interested in natural spaces than pre-fabricated play structures." However, if your child shows interest in playing a team sport or joining a club, these structured activities can increase your child's confidence.
Regularly Eat Meals With Your Child
In a study from August 2004, researchers found that "frequency of family meals was inversely associated with depressive symptoms and suicide involvement". Sharing meal time provides an opportunity to teach your child, to share feelings and experiences, and for you and your child to practice good manners and eating habits together. Not only does sitting down to eat together increase family connectedness, it can also improve your child's health with reduced rates of obesity, eating disorders, and drug abuse.
Being healthy makes it easier to be happy.
How do you help your children be happier?
What are your tips for raising happy children? Comment below!
Wife & Mama with a passion for peaceful parenting, natural living, homeschooling... and my daily café au lait.