Here are 5 tips for raising happy children. (For more about kids and self-esteem, see our activities for kids page.)
1. Play with your kids
Playing is your child’s way of exploring the world and it’s an essential part of every child’s development. Being able to play freely enables your kids to learn invaluable life skills like socializing, learning about themselves and others and discovering different ways to do things.
Play is your child’s “work” and they take it very seriously!
Play lays the foundation for everything – reading, writing and for mathematical and scientific skills and it is important to play with your kids as you interact with them, laugh, share memories and talk together. They also learn to share, take turns and lose!
Studies show that children who play make-believe or games with rules are more empathetic, less physically aggressive and more cooperative with other children.
2. Teach them to be organized
Unfortunately, children aren’t born knowing how to manage time and organize their stuff or meet deadlines. You need to teach your children to organize their sports kit, pack their reading books and diary and put their washing in the wash basket.
It’s important that you teach your children to be organized as it helps cut down on everyone’s stress.
3. Don’t shout
It’s hard to force kids to do something they don’t want to do so you end up yelling at them and trying to bribe, convince, or force them and then feel guilty about it afterwards.
Getting your children to do something by being gentle is just as easy as yelling and screaming at them. Your children are far more open to hearing you when you talk to them in a kind, gentle and respectful way.
4. Keep your patience
It’s become the norm to expect things to happen immediately and we get really irritated when things don’t but we often lose sight of the really important things in our lives – like our relationship with our children or partners.
Patience is a virtue in all walks of life, but nowhere is it more important than with your kids.
Look for practical solutions to things like your kids never brushing their teeth – buy them an electric one which plays pop tunes on it to capture their interest or make tidying up a game with lots of speed, excitement and a prize of some sort at the end – be silly, be imaginative, be creative, be daft – make your life more fun!!
5. Respect each other’s privacy, possessions and personal space
Young children need supervision but it is equally important for each of us in a family to have our own personal space and if kids are guarded too closely or never given space of their own they don’t get that chance.
Respect your child’s personal belongings. Your child needs their own room, even if it is shared with siblings, and they need specific places to keep their clothes, money, and treasures. They also need the guarantee that those places won’t be invaded.
I’ve found knocking and waiting for an invitation before entering my child’s room really beneficial and never read their private writings, diaries, e-mails, or letters.
Children gain improved confidence that their own private belongings won’t be tampered with and that really improves the trust and respect in a family.
“Within eight weeks of beginning the Reading Kingdom, Ben’s progress was enormous. Each day that we continue the programs, he improves. It has also boosted his self-esteem.” — Gail Weiner, parent