I posted last week about my 10 top tips for happy children. It was slightly tongue-in-cheek.
So, on a more serious level, I do have three key things that we live by in our house that I do believe help create an environment that the children can be happy in:
- Sleep. OH MY GOD. I can not live without sleep and having seen my kids try and function on less than their usual hours I know that they take after me. Children usually need a good amount of hours each night (plus naps if they are under two years of age) to give their brains the time they need to process everything they are learning. Getting them to self settle and sleep through for about 11 hours a night makes most kids pretty happy in the morning…Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy teaching your kids who to sleep and some actually do function on less, but I swear by it for Wriggler and Fidget.
- Routine. This doesn’t mean set in stone and totally inflexible structure to your days, but if you know that certain things happen within certain ‘windows’ of time then you can plan ahead and manage things more effectively to avoid or contain meltdowns. That isn’t to say that your kids shouldn’t face challenges and learn how to handle them, but why make day-to-day things harder for yourself, save teaching them those lessons for the big things.
- Discipline. I mean this in the reward and recognise concept. Have boundaries and rules (this goes hand in hand with routine) and see punishments through: leave the park if you say it; no TV for the rest of the day if you say it. The more you do that and are consistent they more they will take you seriously, but will also trust you when you promise good things. It sucks being that mum leaving the park and hauling your buggy away, with your newly acquired octopus (formerly your toddler) slung under your arm, but if you said you would leave if he did THAT thing one more time…just leave…see it through…this tantrum sucks but the next one will be a fraction easier as they know you have a limit.
These have worked for us, so far…I’m not saying that they would work for everyone, but I will swear by them.
What things work for you, or what tips can you share?