Mom and preschooler enjoy cooking together in kitchen


Are there secrets to raising a happy child?

We all want the best for our kids. We want them to grow up to follow their dreams and to find success. Mostly, though, we want them to be happy. But just how much control do we have over our children's happiness? 

Nature and nurture are in a never-ending battle to claim the disposition of our children. While it’s true the apple rarely falls too far from the tree, there are a number of things parents can do to help their child’s happiness flourish.

1. Show excitement. Let your child know you are excited to see them when they enter the room. Greet them warmly and say their name out loud. Children love to hear the sound of their name and long to feel validation from their loved ones.  

2. Tune in. Your child doesn’t just need you around, they need you present. Turn off the phone and shut down the computer and play with your child or find out what is important to them by asking questions and listening to the answers.

3. Model happiness. Children do as they see, not as they’re told. If you want your child to be polite to others, you must be polite to others. If you want your child to by happy, you must smile without hesitation. There is no one more influential to your child than you. At least for now. 

4. Provide recognition. Approval and support from parents, teachers and peers for a job well done reconnect children to the wider world. When kids think what they do affects their family, classmates or team, they're more likely to exhibit moral behavior and, ultimately, to feel good about themselves.

5. Allow for success and failure. Provide ample opportunities for your child to learn new skills – and then stand back to see child what your child can do. As parents, we are quick to do too much for our kids. Unless we allow them to struggle and risk failure, it will be more difficult to develop a can-do attitude that lets them approach future challenges with the zest and optimism that are central to a happy life.

Raising a happy child is hard work. The key is our desire, involvement and resolve to ensure that our kids will have the happiest childhood we are capable of providing.  


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