A great deal of time and energy is paid to our children’s enrichment and stimulation. From weekend activities to carefully curated educational experiences, we are raising kids who are well-rounded but may not be experiencing the joy and relaxation we wish for them. Focusing on our kids’ happiness is something we can do with a few simple changes to our everyday lives.
The Effect of Parental Happiness
Raising happy kids means focusing on our own happiness as parents. In fact, research has shown a prominent link between the happiness of parents and the happiness and behavioral outcomes of young children. Depression in parents is correlated with behavioral issues in children, as well as less effective parenting. If you are feeling any of the symptoms of clinical depression, or if you are simply stressed and overwhelmed by a taxing job alongside the rigors of parenting, speak with your doctor, ask your family and friends for support, and engage in activities which make you feel fulfilled and happy.
Stop Expecting Perfection
Too frequently, parents focus on the outcomes of their children’s efforts instead of the efforts themselves. If your child plays soccer on the weekends, try to focus less on the goals they score or the games their team wins, and more on the effort expended by your child. If he scores a goal, applaud him for his diligence in practicing, rather than on the goal itself. And if he’s not particularly talented at an activity, but loves to do it, praise him for his enthusiasm and encourage him to continue.
The Power of Play
In recent years, free play has become less of a part of our kids’ lives. Children spend a lot of time engaged in structured activities and under the watchful eye of parents, teachers, and instructors in charge of extracurricular activities. They spend less time playing in an unstructured environment with little input from adults. When you’re planning your weekly schedule, remember to leave enough time for free play, which encourages relaxation and helps kids to learn to be present and to enjoy the moment.
Have you made any changes in your family’s life that have affected the happiness of your kids? Share with us in the comments section!