A quick search online would find you pages of useful resources for parents to learn how to raise kids to be successful, smart, and healthy. We always hear of how a kiasu parent sends their children to numerous award-winning tuition centres so that they can excel in their PSLE or other tests and exams.
However, the truth is, as parents, many of us just wish for our children to grow up to be happy people. Besides, it has been widely researched that happier children turn out to be more accomplished adults who find success in what they do. Lucky for us, happiness can be learned. So, let us dive in to learn how to raise a happy child.
Your child’s happiness starts with you
Children are affected by the emotional problems their parents face. What this means is that your child’s happiness is inextricably tied to how happy you are. Genetics isn’t the only factor here; your child can pick up on how you act and manage your emotions, which in turn influences how they deal with their emotions.
What can you do? The trick is to start small: make sure to spend some quality time with your child every week on an activity that both of you enjoy. Take a stroll in the neighbourhood park, catch a movie, or read a fun storybook!
When you see that your child has put in effort in performing a task, praise or reward them. It is important to reward your child for effort, and not just perfection. Rewarding perfection may lead to unhealthy expectations and constant worrying. Your child may fixate on the little details that went wrong. Instead, teach them to be optimistic and reflect on the big picture and the stuff that went correctly!
Make time for play
We all know that practicing mindfulness helps us to be happier and more satisfied with our lives. Children can practice mindfulness through playtime! When children play freely in an unstructured environment, they can be fully immersed in the moment and enjoy themselves. Instead of occupying your child’s time with an iPad, go out for an hour of playtime.
Celebrate the small things
Whether they are big or small, achievements and milestones should be celebrated. It could be your child’s completion of their first test, your new job, or even your child’s first EZ-link card! To celebrate these milestones, plan for a family meal or a day of activities. You could even keep things simple by bringing your child to a park for a few hours of play. Just keep in mind that happy families raise happy children.
Happiness (and laughter) is contagious. With these tips and tricks, you will be well on your way to raising a happy child!