As parents, we all want what’s best for our children and we all want them to have a happy childhood.
You might find yourself wondering how to raise a happy, well-balanced, successful kid.
But it’s tough to find the balance…
Sometimes you can’t figure out how to accomplish this! If only there was a guide or blueprint…
While there isn’t unfortunately a tell-all guide to give you all the answers, we do have some ideas for inspiration.
Are these an end-all in end-all?
But if you’re looking for inspiration, these will get you started.
Let’s dive in!
How To Create A Happy Childhood For Your Kids
#1 Be present for them.
We parents live busy lives.
In this day and age, it’s easy to be distracted. There’s always work to do. Stuff around the house. Extra projects for the office. Personal projects in your “free” time. And so on.
Don’t forget to take the time to actually be present for your kids. Take some deep breaths. Re-focus your attention. Our children are gifts. And when they’re older, their memories of a happy childhood will be stronger if you are there for them.
Although the days seem long, their childhoods will go by too fast, if we let them.
Break the cycle. Learn to be in the here, and now.
#2 Remember THEIR perspective & meet them at their level.
Like the busy parents above, it’s equally easy to forget that kids are kids.
We expect so much of them! And from an earlier and earlier age, they’re expected to be involved in so many activities, filling up their lives with keeping busy (and running you ragged).
Sports. Extra-curricular activities. Making stellar grades. Studying for the next test. Learning the latest hot topic skill.
But when was the last time you let your kid just do some kid stuff?
And does all this busyness lead to a happy childhood?
Take some time to get back to things like:
Running around outside…Going for a hike with Mom or Dad…and riding bikes around the neighborhood…
As a parent, are you taking time to LET them DO kid stuff?
Or are you just spending all your spare moments on your cell phone?
(More on that cell phone addiction below. Keep reading).
#3 Compliment what they’re good at & Encourage them to grow.
These two go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.
Or can you?
Well, let’s look at it this way:
We’ve all been taught to be well rounded. Built-up our strengths, and weaknesses. But it can be easy for kids nowadays to get bogged down by their weaknesses…
ESPECIALLY with so much comparison culture these days. Both for parents, and kids. It can be easy to get sucked into what others are doing.
Which doesn’t lead to good things…
And the result?
Too much focusing long term on things that don’t matter, versus things that do (like cultivating strengths).
#4 Guide them to make friends with other kids striving for excellence.
I bet you know your kids.
But how well do you know your kids’ friends?
They say we’re the average of the 5 people we spend our time with. I don’t know where I heard that, but I think it’s spot on!
How well do you know the 4 other kids your child spends the most time for?
Are they striving for excellence? Are they the type of kids that encourage yours to be their best?
Something to think about!
#5 Model Empathy.
It’s reasonable to say that we all want well adjusted, socially adaptable kids.
After all, well-adjusted implied they had a happy childhood, right?
What if there was a shortcut to making that happen?
It’s the “secret” ingredient for relating to our fellow humans. And it might be a secret to creating a happy childhood for your kids.
But can it be taught?
I sure think so! It’s one of the BEST skills you can cultivate as a parent. And honestly one of the most impactful skills you can model as a parent.
Because it teaches them how to understand others. See things from a different perspective.
See the world from a different vantage point?
It’s a skill that will LAST a lifetime, paying dividends on all their future relationships.
Time chunk screen time.
EVERYBODY these days, it seems, are talking about screen time. And how there’s too much of it.
And how that’s bad.
And we don’t disagree. Those little screens can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because it’s revolutionized our lives, parenting included!
Can you imagine being a parent in an era when you couldn’t just quickly lookup any parenting fact you want, in an instant?
But we still want our kids to grow up with balance, and not just staring at screens all the time.
#6 Reframe The Relationship With “Screen Time”
Because that old advice didn’t work for us.
Too boring. And too restrictive.
Instead, we like an approach inspired by the Pomodoro technique.
With that technique, tasks are broken down into manageable chunks.
So the key here is chunking time.
Don’t just set an arbitrary time limit, for the day or whatever.
Chunk up the amount of screen time throughout the day. And add in a MUST do list before the kids can jump on their devices.
That way, screen time isn’t just an entitled leisure activity, it’s something that must be earned.
#7 Let them BE KIDS.
Do you let your kids be kids?
Are you constantly telling them “No”
Or are you saying “Yes!”
Next time you find yourself defaulting to a “NO,” stop and think for a minute:
And ask yourself:
Is this really a requirement that I say no to this? Or is it just my personal preference.
Now, to be sure, it’s important to have rules, boundaries, routines, and limits.
We’re not saying don’t do that.
What we are saying: Stretch your limits. Get outside your parenting comfort zone…
And see how you like it?
You might just be surprised how much fun you have!
Last but not least:
#8 Model LOVE and HAPPINESS.
Regardless of your lot in life…
It doesn’t take much to show them love. And it doesn’t take a ton of effort to model working to build happiness and gratitude into your life.
We’ll be writing more on this later…
But there’s growing research out there that’s showing that happiness and gratitude can be cultivated as HABITS.
You can build these into your daily life and teach your children to do the same.
Raising a happy kid isn’t’ impossible…
But it’s certainly easier said than done. Some folks might say that you can really influence that outcome….
But we disagree! With more and more research into neuroscience and how the brain works, there’s info coming out all the time about human well-being and thriving.
We believe that happiness is a craft of cultivation, rather than a mysterious gift that is somehow bestowed upon only a lucky few.
How about you? Do you think happiness is a habit and a craft, or merely a matter of luck?