We all want our kids to be happy, but whilst there are no guarantees, there are some things we can all do to help them to grow into happy and confident adults. It can be so hard to know how to strike the balance between giving them what they want and making them happy in the short term, and raising them as decent people. A wise lady once told me that you don't need your 3 year old to be your friend, but if you do your job as a parent, you will raise an adult you want to be friends with.
Here are 5 secrets to raising happy children:
1 Define the boundaries.
All kids need boundaries. Decide early on, what the rules of your household are, and stick to them. Kids feel safe when they know what's expected of them, and most kids do actually want to please their parents. Really! And remember saying “yes” to every demand will NOT make them happy
2. Listen to your kids:
They may talk about all sorts of rubbish some times, but they're talking to you because they want you to really listen to them. Because you're their mum and dad. If you genuinely stop, focus and listen, not only will they feel heard, and not have to play up to get your attention, but it will bring you closer together, and if you stop and focus, you'll probably find you may actually enjoy their stories.
3. Have fun with your kids
It only takes a moment to tickle a tummy, or tell them a joke. Do something they're not expecting, or something silly. Kick a ball with them, jump on the trampoline (if your pelvic muscles allow), or just hang out and giggle and chat. They will love it, and so will you. Promise.
4. Get the atmosphere right at home
Think about the sort of atmosphere you'd like to cultivate, and what would be best for you and your kids. Then set about achieving it. It'll be hard work at first, but it will be worth it. Aim high, but don't expect miracles straight away!
5. Model happiness
You are the greatest role model in your kids' lives, so smile and show them how to be happy, and try to be calm and relaxed in front of them... if you can.
And one last thing – tell them and show them you love them everyday.