We dearly want our children to be happy. Because we cannot control their emotions, we cannot always make them happy and also not ensure their happiness. But we can create a safe and loving environment in which we can handle their emotions such as sadness, anger, fear, disappointment and frustration. We can also help them to develop skills to handle their emotions in a healthy fashion. There are quite a few things you can do to ensure that your children will flourish, even in difficult situations that threaten their inner feeling of happiness.
Love one another as parents and be an example of caring for your children. Children in single parent families can also be happy, provided you as parent take care of your own emotional wellbeing.
Love your children unconditionally and accept them as they are. Your unconditional love also helps them to love themselves.
Teach them to not compare themselves with others – not their appearance, achievements or circumstances. Because every child is unique and special.
Ensure their physical and emotional safety and security.
Spend as much time as possible with your children. Enjoy at least one meal per day together as a family around the dining table or exercise together.
Talk to your child, but also be prepared to listen. In this way you will get to know what they think and feel, what their needs are and what you can help with.
Show interest in what they do and be involved – attend school and extramural activities; it shows that you care.
Discipline and routine let children feel safe and sheltered.
Allow enough time for play, outdoors as well as indoors. Play is good for children’s physical, emotional and cognitive wellbeing.
Guard against too high demands and expectations. Always let it be within limits, taking into consideration your child’s ability. Don’t expect everything they do to always be perfect. Rather acknowledge and praise them for every effort to tackle and complete a task.
Compliment them for things over which they have control, such as skills they master, initiative, creativity and good conduct, rather than commenting on things over which they have no control, such as appearance and intelligence.
Positive relationships with others promote happiness. Teach them to display goodwill towards others by being helpful and friendly.
Teach them to be optimistic and to see the positive rather than the negative side of a matter.
Encourage an attitude of gratitude. Every day give them the opportunity to name at least one thing for which they are grateful. Teach them to show sincere gratitude towards others who do something for them or give them something.
Cultivate emotional intelligence by teaching them to understand their own emotions as well as those of others.
Children who can practise self-discipline, self-control and patience, learn that certain things bring about happiness in the long term. This is in stark contrast to immediate self-gratification, where the here and now reigns supreme, but brings only temporary happiness.
Give them certain responsibilities, for example home chores. Children like to know that what they do matter and that others appreciate it. It makes them feel they mean something.
Teach your children to distinguish between necessities (that which they need) and desires (that which they would like to have). To shower them with material things will not necessarily make them happy.