One of the greatest responsibilities of a parent is to ensure your children feel loved and happy so they can go on to lead emotionally healthy adult lives.
While every parent knows that kids don’t always listen, most parents don’t realize the kids are always watching. You can use this fun fact to help increase your child’s happiness by remembering that what you do is often more important than what you say.
As they grow and learn about the world around them, children naturally assign meaning to what they see. Kids are especially sensitive to noticing when a parent chooses a person or activity over themselves. That means when you’re too busy for them, they can easily begin to feel that they’re not worthy of being one of your priorities even though that may not be the case.
Apply these ideas in your household to help your child feel secure, loved, and happy
- Let them know you’re genuinely excited to see them. When you see them for the first time in the morning and after school, ensure they know just how happy you are to see them. Use their name (everybody likes that) and show genuine pleasure with a smile or a hug.
Think about how happy you would be if the person you love the most did the same for you.
- Make sure they know that your work is less important than they are. Most kids are constantly being put off because of work or some other task. Avoid scheduling your kids around your tasks. Take care of the kids first and schedule work around them. This technique shows them how important they are – and yes it can be even more of a challenge when you work at home, or bring office work home with you.
- Teach your kids at home. Don’t assume that everything they need to learn they are learning sufficiently outside your own home. When it comes to school, just like every other profession, some teachers simply aren’t very good. Help your child with their schoolwork to make sure they’re understanding everything.
Plus, remember that many of the most important things children learn have nothing to do with academics. That’s your responsibility. If you don’t do it, who else will?
Consider all the things you wish you had known when you were a young adult heading out into the world. Those things would be a great start.
- Model good behavior. Children assume that the appropriate way to handle a situation is the same way their parents handle it. Are you behaving like a strong, patient, persistent person? How successful and happy will your children be if they handle challenges the same way that you do? Remember, they’re always watching and copying.
- Let the kids make a few of the rules around the house. People naturally resist and rebel when they feel like they don’t have any control. It can be something small. Perhaps they can choose which days to clean their room each week. Or they can choose what’s for dinner (from choices that you give them). Simple things like this really help.
- Limit exposure to technology. It’s easy to let the TV entertain the kids when you’re busy or frustrated. But most parents instinctively know that their kids watch too much TV. As kids get older, cell phones, the internet, and iPods become an issue. Technology is hypnotic, but it doesn’t make people happy.
Many studies have shown that people that use technology the most tend to suffer from loneliness at a greater rate than those that use it less. For ideas on how to limit screen time check out our post Guidelines to Setting Limits on Screen Time for Kids.
Have fun with your kids. Teach them everything you think they need to know and be a good example. Ensure they feel special and loved. Simply doing your very best is a great place to start.