I was writing a piece for a parenting magazine, about secrets of raising happy children.
The thing is that raising children is hard full stop. Add in all the requirements of being happy, polite, well-mannered, socially included, bright, engaging, sporty, healthy, creative and so on…it can be hard to be sure what works for making them happy.
And the semi-funny, semi-serious article got me thinking, what do I think on a more day-to-day level what helps kids become happy?
- Wotsits are a valid form of sustenance and bribery. They make Fidget very happy so I highly recommend them
- Soft play. Yes this is our vision of hell, but apparently kids love those places
- Messy play. Ok, some kids don’t like this, but if you have children anything like mine then they love paint, water beads, playdoh, sand, flour, water. Generally anything they can stick in their ears, noses and tummy buttons
- Using their imaginations. Be that playing dinosaur train in the play room or building a fort with the sofa cushions in the living room
- Cooking. Wriggler and Fidget actually like helping me and especially in the kitchen. So, chocolate crispie cakes are always a winner
- Listening to them. When they are telling their stories or just chatting about they day they want your attention…so, put down that phone
- Laughing with them. Recalling funny memories, tickling them and generally having a giggle – our best memories (pre-kids) will be laughing with our mates, so the same rule applies to our kids – laughing with us
- Learning something new. Riding a bike or scooter properly creates a real sense of achievement
- Reward charts/treats. I know that some parenting things consider this bribery. I consider this survival. Having something that your child desires as a reward for learning how to use the potty, or remember their P&Q’s isn’t a bad thing, as long as they do the required ‘thing’ as second nature by the time they get the reward…like a big toy after a month of no accidents for potty training. If charts don’t work, why not try ‘surprise treats’ when you want to say thank you to them for doing something extra amazing
- Cuddles. Or any way of demonstrating your affection. Actually saying those little words to them, but also to say why. ‘I love the way that you just took care of your brother’ or ‘I love that you made me laugh so hard with that song’. We love real compliments, so do our kids
- Wotsits. Always the wotsits
What are your tips for making your kids happy? Need any other ideas check out this article on Families Magazine Online.