10 Steps to Increase Children’s Happiness
Many parents, as well as teachers, want to see children happy and joyful. So, to achieve that, parents tend to buy them gifts, take them for ice cream, help them with their homework, or play games together.
Also, teachers do many things to make the children happy, for instance, they buy school supplies by spending money out of their own pockets, they bring treats, make plans for entertaining trips, and support them in many other ways.
According to studies, doing kind things for people makes us feel better and happier. And, as David Brooks explained in Nice Guys Finish First, compassionate and kind people are often most successful. (1)
What Has the Real Worth, Receiving or Giving?
Sadly, we cannot make children happy only by making them receivers of kindness. In fact, we can make them happier, better, lower bullying, and improve friendships by showing them that giving is the right thing.
Even though children are born as unselfish givers, somewhere between their birth and the fourth grade, they are taught to be more selfish. One study conducted by researchers from the University of California and the University of British Columbia showed incredible results. (2)
Hundreds of children at the age of 9 or 11 every week performed and recorded three acts of kindness. The outcome was increased happiness and satisfaction in the givers. Also, the children gained 1.5 friends during a period of four weeks. So, these children were less into bullying and were more positive.
How to Make Your Children Happier?
1. Work on Your Happiness
Even though it sounds selfish, but being happy affects the happiness of your children. According to some researches, parents with depression cause behavioral problems in children. And, this was not connected with genetics. (3)
So, one way of making yourself happy is to find some time every week and spend it with your friends laughing and doing fun things.
2. Teach Your Children How to Build Relationships
Building relationships is very important, and it does not take a lot. For instance, you can begin by encouraging your children to do small acts of kindness in order to build empathy. As a result, your children would become better people as well as happier. (4)
3. Anticipate Effort Instead of Perfection
Helicopter parents and tiger moms, please, take it easy. According to researches those parents who magnify achievement usually have children with anxiety, depression, as well as substance abuse. Choose to praise your children in a better way. (5)
In fact, you should praise them for their effort even if they do not achieve what you have expected.
4. Teach Your Children to be Optimistic
If you want to avoid having a bad-tempered teenager, try to your pre-teen to be positive and always find the good in every bad. Optimistic people tend to be happier, healthier, more successful, and lead good lives. (6)
5. Teach Your Children Emotional Intelligence
Remember that emotional intelligence is not something you are born with, but it is a skill you can learn and develop. In order to teach your children about it, you should help them be able to identify their feelings and learn that it is okay to have them.
6. Happiness Habits
Moreover, according to Christine Carter, there are several effective ways of teaching your children how to develop happiness habits. The first step is to remove the distractions and temptations. The second step is to set goals and support their achievement.
The third step is to teach your children that they should take one goal at a time because having too many goals is overwhelming. And, the final step is to be patient because nothing good comes immediately.
Children that are good at self-disciplining themselves are more successful in the future. So, an efficient way of teaching children about self-discipline is showing them how to resist temptations. (7)
8. Playtime is Essential
Meditation and mindfulness are important and powerful ways of leading a better life. So, when children play games, they practice mindfulness. But, nowadays, children play games less than years ago.
In fact, over the last 20 years, children have lost about 8 hours of free and spontaneous playtime, and this has negative results such as slowing cognitive and emotional development. That is why parents need to encourage more playtime. (8)
9. Control Their Surroundings
Our environment has a big influence on our well-being. In order to make your children happier, you need to lower the time spend in front of the TV because according to sociologists people that are happier watch less television. Encourage fun activities away from the TV.
10. Spend Dinner Time Together
As some studies show, children who eat dinner with their families are happier and emotionally stable. Also, these children tend to be more successful, less depressive, and usually less likely to have an eating disorder. (9)
We can conclude that buying dolls, balls, smartphones, etc. is not the right way to make your children truly happy as well as good people. In fact, the way to real happiness and well-being is cheaper but more efficient.