Thursday, July 10, 2014

Parenting: 12 Ways To Have Happy Kids

We all want happier children, but how do we do it? Here are 12 ways you can raise happier children.

1. Stop Yelling At Them.

Children live what they are taught. If you yell when you get frustrated with them, they will yell at you when they get frustrated.
They will also yell at teachers, principals, grandparents, and all the people you will be completely mortified to have your children yelling at.

2. Praise Them.

Praise them because they want your approval and attention and happiness. It makes them feel secure and loved.
Focus on anything, even if they brushed their hair or teeth on their own, and tell them it makes you happy. Tell them you appreciate it when they pick up their things. Tell them you love it when they help you clean up.

3. Play with them.

Play allows them to get out stress and anxiety. Active play keeps them in shape. Role play helps them learn to handle situations. Imaginative play helps them learn creativity and problem solving.
Get out your favorite board or card games. Fire up the video games. Take them to the park. Spend just 15 minutes a day playing with your child. You've got 15 minutes for your own child, right? Teach them how to play chess, or tennis, or how to jump rope. Show them you can hula hoop, or roller skate, or have fun, too.

4. Routines.

Children need the security of routines every day. It also prepares them for the future. Think about how you get ready for the day. Do you get up, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, grab your keys and coffee, and head out? That's a routine that keeps you organized and on track. Your children need routines for the same reasons. Tackle the hard stuff, the things they hate, like brushing teeth, getting dressed, or cleaning their room in a routine with a set time limit or task limit, and a reward at the end. You'll see a vast improvement in their behavior.

5. Model Behaviors.

Be their role model. Hold open doors, thank people, return your shopping carts, offer to help a neighbor with your children there so they can see what kind and compassionate people do.

6.One-on-One Time.

No matter how many children you have, make a point to spend time with each of them one-on-one. Take them out to eat, just the two of you, or play a two player game, or hole yourself up in their room and just listen and talk. Make their time with you meaningful. You don't have to be your child's best friend, but you can be a listening ear. For that, you can't be the yelling, domineering, avoiding parent.

7. Share Your Own Emotional Struggles.

Open up to your kids about things make you feel and how you deal with them.
Guy cut you off in traffic? Tell them that when people drive recklessly and endanger your life and those of your children whom you love, you feel very angry. Instead of showing it by tailgating, honking maliciously, or cursing, you could accept that he is in more of a hurry than you are and that driving defensively will save your life.

8. Let Them Fail.

Don't do your children's homework for them. What good does it do them of you are up past midnight covered in glitter and paint while they wake up to a magically created project? What happens when they have to describe what they did in high school and they didn't do half the work?
As a teacher and parent, please do me this favor and let them do what they can on their own. It's their grade. They need to learn to earn it. Besides, chances are, one day they will take a math class beyond your ability. What then? :)

9. Don't Compare Them to Others.

I know it is easy to fall into the trap with other parents where you ask about school and how their kid is doing because it is small talk and the only thing you have in common, but don't start comparing kids.
Your child hears that he or she is not as good as another, or that you want them to be better. They feel less loved, and useless. That is not a happy child.

10. Keep Adult Issues Behind Closed Doors.

Please do not talk about how you need to skip paying this bill this week in front of your child. They have enough stress in their lives without having to worry about adult issues, too. It's okay to tell them if you lose your job and will be looking for a new one, that they won't be able to take that vacation or go to camp. But issues with family members, money, or adult topics need to be behind closed doors. Children pick up on things and take things to heart way too easily.

11. Give Them Responsibility.

Teaching them responsibility is the biggest, next to accountability, lesson we can teach. Reward them with money, treats, or special things when they do show responsibility. Take away money, treats, or special things when they fail to do them. Having to hand back dollar bills that they have earned because they failed to cooperate with a sibling will make them think twice about fighting in the future (for example).
Please give your child chores to do, deadlines to accomplish tasks like telling you what they want to put on the grocery list this week or they don't get it, and have them help you do things around the house.

12. Give Them Choices.

Please give your child choices from what to wear, what to eat, and what outings to go on. Making decisions is a huge part of adult life. If you keep telling them what to do, they will be frustrated and also never learn the freedom to exercise their decision-making abilities.

Focus on one at a time or many of these 12 to improve the relationship between you and your children. Sit down with them and discuss as a family the areas to work on. Including them in this decision making process holds you all accountable and establishes a sense of community rather than an 'adults change the rules again and don't follow through' situation. :)

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