How to raise a happy child

How do I know if my child is happy or unhappy? What are the signs? Every child is different & there is no set method for how to raise a happy child.

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This article is not about happy or unhappy parents, but our actions can impact the culture and happiness of our children. How happy you are, affect how happy and successful your children will be. Parental mood has shown significant impacts on the behavior of children. Happy parents are likely to have happy kids.

Your task as a parent isn’t to become responsible for your children’s happiness. Instead, you need to teach your children the skills they need to manage their emotions in a healthy way.

My wish for every child is the following: ‘Get connected to your life by focussing on your inner feelings to find your purpose. Your purpose in life does not have to be something that you will find at some point in your life. You are never to young or old to find your purpose. Find your purpose right NOW’.

How much control do we have over our children's happiness?

It is not unusual for a child to experience different emotions such as happiness, sadness, excitement, worry and anger. These feelings come and go depending on what they experience in life. However, It becomes a concern when a child is continuously showing signs of unhappiness. Here are some signs that may indicate an unhappy child.

  • Feeling lonely and withdrawing from friends. Lonely children are craving for friendship. Help them reconnect. A child does not need a lot of friends. They only need a small reliable group of people who remind them that they matter.
  • Low self-esteem. They have a negative image of themselves and lack confidence. They are constantly comparing themselves to their peers in a negative way. Show your child lots of love and be positive about them as a person. Set an example of having a positive attitude when faced with challenges. Help children discover and develop their talents through sport or group activities.
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  • They feel hopeless or worthless. It is a feeling that may cause children to feel as if they have no meaning or purpose and can have a significant negative effect on emotional health. This could be a sign of depression. Wanting to help your child shows you care. Talking to your child and seeing a health professional together sends the message that your child isn’t alone.
  • Your child is not laughing as much or expressing joy and happiness and in a low mood. Children that have lower frequencies of positive and happy emotions are at risk for depression.
  • They find it difficult to fall asleep and once they do they tend to sleep more and longer hours than before. A healthy sleep schedule is important for children. It is important that parents observe and monitor their child’s sleeping schedule. Oversleeping can be a sign of mood disturbance.
  • Losing interest in activities they use to enjoy. When a child stops wanting to play a sport they have always enjoyed, quits a creative hobby that always made them happy, something more serious might be going on.
  • School grades slipping. A drop in school performance can be worrying for any parent. It is important to ascertain the reason why and rule out any underlying serious cause.
  • They have low energy levels and tires quick. When life feels tough for children, for whatever reason, they may feel it and express it as fatigue.  
  • They are restless. Restlessness can be used to describe a variety of symptoms, including hyperactivity, anxiety, insomnia, and much more, and can be caused by a variety of factors.
  • Appetite changes. Stress can have many negative effects, including loss of appetite. Depression could be another reason and most parents mistake depression for sadness. 
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There is an enormous amount of information on raising smart & successful kids, but how do you raise a happy child?

When you ask parents what they want for their children, the most common reply normally is that they want their children to be happy. Here are some steps to follow in how to raise a happy child and becoming happier parents.

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I’m sure that most parents understand that a child’s happiness depends largely on them. One of the single most important things of all is how parents interact with each other. Emotions are contagious and therefore one of the best things you can do for your child’s emotional well-being is to attend to yours.

Quality or quantity of time. Spending time with your family can help you teach values to your children, but the amount of time you spend with your children actually has no impact on how your children develop! When parents are stressed out and depressed, it can affect the children’s well-being.

To me there is no picture so beautiful as smiling, bright-eyed, happy children; no music so sweet as their clear and ringing laughter - P T Barnum

Here are some actions parents can practice in raising happy children: 

  • Encourage effort, not perfection. Parents who overstress achievement are more likely to have children with high levels of stress, depression & anxiety. Praise children for effort and hard work. Praise for the effort has a big influence in motivating your child.
  • Teach your child emotional intelligence. Some parents focused so much on academic achievement for their children and ignore emotional self-regulation. Emotional intelligence is a skill, not an inborn trait. Self-control is a skill that develops over time. It allows children to think through their actions.
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Image by manseok Kim from Pixabay
  • Teach your child optimism. Be positive role models for your children and encourage optimism and resilience in your children. As parents, you must start with an understanding of your own reactions to external events and situations. Optimism and resilience are skills that are learned over time with experience and practice. Teach your children to look for the good things in life.
  • Provide chances for your children to form loving connections. A connected childhood is key to happiness. (Edward Hallowell) Fulfilling relationships and secure bonds with others are vital to the wellbeing of children. It gives them a sense of belonging. Connecting them to nature is important for children’s development intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically.
  • Teach your children self-discipline. Self-discipline helps children delay satisfaction, resist unhealthy temptations and endure the discomfort needed to reach their long-term goals. Provide a household structure and always explain the reason behind your rules. Explain consequences and shape their behaviour one step at a time. Teach them problem-solving skills and praise their behaviour.
  • Celebrate as a family, as often as you can. Celebrate both the small and big things in everyday life. Having dinner together (when possible) as a family is a good thing for your child because families who eat together talk more and that will help them stay connected and build better relationships. With minimal effort, we can create a daily, short but stimulating celebration of family which offers sanctuary from the trials and tribulations of life.
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Image by Timothy Borkert from Pixabay
  • Teach your child gratitude. Gratitude is linked to happiness. Gratitude is more than feeling thankful. It is deeper gratefulness and creates longer-lasting positivity. Gratitude invigorates us. It’s one of the greatest emotions a human can have. Giving your children a childhood they feel grateful about now will help them reflect more on reasons to be grateful as an adult.
  • Encourage your children to serve others and be generous. Being generous also makes children happy and make them feel meaningful when they serve other people when making a difference in the community, volunteering, helping their friends and family.
  • Promote a Positive Body Image for your children. Whatever their size or weight, children can develop either a positive or negative view of their bodies. How you as parents feel about your bodies has a powerful influence on your children. Children with a positive image of themselves feel more comfortable and confident in their ability to succeed. Parents should shift their focus from weight to health. Children shouldn’t be counting calories or restricting their intake. They should be enjoying healthy regular meals. Nutrition and fitness are great goals that will give your children the energy to do all the things that they want to do.
  • Don’t overindulge your child. When parents do too many things for their children that they should be learning to do for themselves, they may actually be causing harm. Overindulgence leads to self-centeredness, greed, and unwillingness to be held accountable for their actions. Overindulged children are less able to delay gratification, and that leads to materialism and ungratefulness.
  • Trust. Before a secure relationship can form or remain, your child must trust you. A healthy connection between parent and child is essential for proper growth that leads to better emotional health, better childhood and adult relationships, less anxiety, increased empathy, greater creativity, and a better ability to cope with the ups and downs of life. Without trust, we cannot be truly connected. If we keep listening to them when they’re little, they’ll talk to us when they’re big – Rebecca Eanes
  • Resolve conflicts in your marriage. If you have issues in your marriage that have gone unresolved for months or years, please seek help from a therapist or counsellor. Your children are counting on you.

Learn to share your thoughts and feelings and listen actively to each other. Take time to care for your health and well being and manage your stress levels. Make your home a dwelling where love rules. I sincerely hope that this article will help you to find ways how to raise a happy child.