Don't just raise your kids, grow up with them
For most parents, their children’s wellbeing is a number one priority. Happy children are more likely to grow up to be merry and successful adults. Therefore, it is crucial that we consider all aspects of wellbeing - being mental, physical, social and spiritual - as important. Fulfilling children’s needs in all of these areas will lead to their overall level of life satisfaction. So how do we raise happy kids? The key is not to just raise them, but to grow up with them!
Of course, at times it can be difficult to balance what’s best for children with parents’ work and other time commitments. But growing up with your children may not take as much extra time and effort as you think, if you are more conscious of your own behavior. Besides, the return on investment in your child’s happiness is priceless.
Below are some useful tips to help you to grow up with your children:
Keep yourself happy and active.
How happy and active you are affects how happy and successful your kids will be - dramatically. By simply spending some time with your own friends, and having a laugh with your family, can increase your levels of happiness. By keeping yourself happy and active with regular exercise and other healthy outlets, your mood will also rub off on your children.
Teach your kids social skills.
Having high quality relationships with others is a proven predictor of one’s happiness and overall quality of life. According to many studies loneliness has the strongest correlation with life expectancy compared with any other predictor. Therefore social interaction etiquette is an important skill for kids of any age to develop. Take notice of how your child interacts with other children. Simply encouraging kids to include others when playing, notice others’ feelings, apologize when needed and perform small acts of kindness can help them build friendships and develop empathy. This will be further demonstrated in how you interact with other adults. Be careful of your own behavior when you are in social situations, kids will pick up on parent’s behavior and begin to mimic both positive and negative aspects in their own social interactions.
Encourage effort over perfection.
We must be careful not to pressurize our children by expecting perfection from them. This will ensure that they are putting in effort for their own benefit and the self-satisfaction that comes with completing difficult tasks or overcoming challenges. By praising effort but not expecting perfection, we can teach our children to become self-motivated and self-disciplined which are some of the most sought-after skills by employers.
Teach Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is a skill, not an innate characteristic. Expecting children to “naturally” come to understand their own emotions is unreasonable. In order to help them develop a voice of reason we must ask open questions to encourage them to think and talk about their feelings.
Set up their environment for happiness.
It’s true we are all strongly influenced by our environment. As they say, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around so it is important to keep healthy company, and therefore create a positive environment for ourselves. Some simple measures that can be implemented to ensure your child’s environment is conducive to happiness could include, less TV, less electronic devices, more human interaction, more playtime, and time spent being active or outdoors. Perhaps the simplest habit of all, eating family dinners together can have the most profound impact on the happiness of your children and the whole family. Mealtimes are an opportunity to check in with all family members and strengthen family bonds. Mealtime discussions can help family members solve each other’s problems, talk about the good parts of their day, plan upcoming events and discuss exciting ideas. This regular family routine will also give children a sense of stability in their home lives.