As parents, we all want the same thing for our kids: to ensure they live happy lives. But what does it really mean to raise happy kids? What can we do to raise happy and healthy children in today’s world?

Contrary to some popular beliefs, raising happy kids isn’t about providing our children with immediate gratification or momentary pleasure. It’s about creating a home and environment in which your child’s happiness can flourish. It’s about equipping children with the skills they’ll need to enjoy long-term happiness as they strive to achieve their goals. 

So, how can you help make that happen? Here are some tips you might find handy!

Foster real connections

Some parents think all it takes to be a good parent is buying their children all of the latest gadgets and toys. But this does not lead to true happiness – these are fleeting pleasures. If you want your kids to be happy in life and promote a sense of lifelong emotional well-being, pay close attention to helping them develop strong connections with you and with others. A true sense of connectedness with people can give a child the security and feeling of being loved, acknowledged, accepted, and understood. 

As a parent, you can cement your child’s most crucial connection with you by ensuring that your child feels loved unconditionally. Show affection. Give your child loving gestures and consistently remind him or her of your love. Let children know that they’re special.

Incorporate gratitude into your daily lives

Practicing gratitude can also help your child feel happier. It’s key to living a content and satisfied life. 

Incorporate gratitude into your daily lives in your family by focusing and talking about the things you’re grateful for. When your family is gathered at the dinner table or while you tuck your child into bed, you can create a great habit by asking your little one to share what he or she is grateful for that day. Whether it’s something big or small, practicing this will help your child look for the good in their daily lives. 

Limit screen time

You might think that spending long hours watching television or playing video games makes your child happy. But it doesn’t. In fact, too much screen time can be detrimental to a child’s psychological well-being. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two should not have any screen time. For older kids, it is recommended that parents limit screen time to a limit of one hour each day.

Instead of spending endless hours on their digital devices, encourage children to spend time engaged in screen-free activities. Encourage your child to read more books, play outside, and interact with others.

Avoid overpraising

It’s natural for parents to want their children to feel good about themselves. However, overpraising them, and giving praise for negative or unhealthy choices, can potentially backfire. 

Instead of giving your child excessive praise for each achievement, focus on praising small efforts and accomplishments, like when he or she cleans up the playroom and puts away toys without being asked. Helping others is also something worth praising! 

Encourage outdoor play

Did you know that spending time outdoors can benefit your child’s physical health in addition to his or her mental health too? Research has shown that children who spend more time in their natural environment are less likely to experience depression and anxiety as they grow older. 

Therefore, don’t underestimate the power of outdoor play. Let your child enjoy these benefits, even if it means getting dirty, getting the occasional bruised knee, and getting his or her feet wet. These simple yet fun activities can provide an instant boost of joy. 

Set reasonable expectations

Parents’ expectations of their kids have a significant influence on their willingness to challenge themselves. Studies have found that placing high expectations on our children encourages them to perform better in school. 

However, it’s equally important to remember that we shouldn’t expect perfection from our children. Placing unrealistic expectations and setting the bar too high can backfire. This type of pressure can make your child fear experiencing failure or making a mistake. Falling short of your expectations can even result in frustration or depression in the long run. 

Raising happy kids does not mean guaranteeing that your child is happy and comfortable during every single minute of his or her life. It just means equipping children with the skills they need to help them cope with life’s uncomfortable situations and manage their emotions in a healthy way. 

For more tips and resources on parenting, feel free to visit Cornerstone Learning Center