How to raise happy children
Parenting

Every parent wants happiness for his or her children. Ultimately, the long working hours, the saving for good schools and extra tuition, family holidays, good food and even the assets we acquire are for our children’s future success, comfortable living and their happiness.

So today we’re sharing 8 tips that we have learnt can go a long way in contributing to your children’s happiness. Work to be a happy parent. If it were up to your children, you would be happy every day.

Happiness is usually contagious, as is anger or sadness and your children can feel and will eventually absorb your mood. So make an effort to be happy even when life may be a little rocky. Take time to laugh and appreciate the simple things.

A happy parent is more effective and can make better parenting decisions. Encourage optimism and gratitude. People who think positively are happier and this applies to children as well. Encourage positive thinking by teaching your children to be grateful for all things in life; the dinner they had, a loving family, their pets, nature, a warm bed; things that they might take for granted. Remind them to thank God for the blessings that they have even if there are other things they can’t have right then. Even in challenges, teach them to be grateful for lessons learned because they come out stronger, better and hopefully a little wiser. That’s optimism. Teach generosity. As the saying goes, giving is better than receiving.

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A study by Dr. L.B. Aknin revealed that toddlers are happier giving treats to others than receiving them. We have all accepted something from a toddler to their giggling delight.

Encourage this generous spirit by encouraging them to volunteer in community causes, sharing ‘the little’ they have and generally being kind. Make generosity a family virtue, and remind them to give expecting nothing in return but appreciating whatever they might get. Teach forgiveness.

Forgiveness is key to letting go of negative experiences. Teach children that they cannot always prevent people from wronging them but they can choose to forgive and let go of whatever negativity they experience. Be an example of forgiveness by letting go of the mistakes that your children go once they have been resolved.

Reminding John about that plate he broke will not instil forgiveness as you have stored an experience you can now use to torment your child with whenever they do something wrong. It is essential that your children learn how to forgive themselves as much as they learn to forgive others. Communication is key to your children’s happiness.

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When your children talk to you, give them your undivided attention. Half answers to your child’s conversations or nods and grunts are not communication. When talking with your child, try to put all distractions aside and really listen so that you can respond more thoughtfully. Your child knows the difference when you are paying attention and listening will encourage them to be more open with you.

Managing emotions. Teach your children that feeling different emotions is very normal and acceptable. How act on their emotions is what will determine their maturity health and happiness. Children who can manage their emotions interact better with people and can focus better at school and other activities.

Spend quality family time as often as you can. Teach children to value family time, as this is the time to bond and really communicate with each other. In a world where everything is hectic and time is scarce, family time can be as simple as meal times, going for walks, a few game nights, family trips or doing chores together like preparing meals and washing dishes.

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This will teach them to build meaningful relationships not only with family but with friends as well. Teach them that effort is more important in life than winning.

We all want our children to be the best. The best in class, the best at sports, the best singer, the best behaved; the list never ends. Remind children that before they win, they have to put in an effort and even if they don’t reach their ultimate goal of being ‘first’ they are better than they were before they made the effort and that is what’s important.

This will give them a happier attitude towards whatever they endeavour to do throughout their lives.

For inquiries please call 116 National Child Helpline. This is a toll free service available across all networks in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

Facebook: @Sema Tanzania; Twitter: @SemaTanzania or visit our website: sematanzania.org

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