“There are a lot of different ways to raising happy kids, and there’s not one formula that works for every kid,” said Amy Bohnert, a psychologist who researches child development at Loyola University Chicago.
The first basic rule of being a good parent is fostering a secure and warm attachment with your kids. If you manage this, they know their needs will be met and that they’ll always have a place to go when they need comfort.
And as they get older, kids need freedom to explore their own identities and be allowed to make some age appropriate mistakes.
7 Tips for raising happy kids
- Be polite
Want to raise polite children? Try adding the words “please and thank you” to your own vocabulary. Kids learn how to interact with others by observing how you do it and then mimic that behaviour. If you treat everyone with respect and politeness, chances are your kids will too.
Parents can inadvertently hurt well-adjusted kids with too much hovering.
2. Live in the moment
Adults tend to constantly think about the future, but according to scientists, kids (ages 2 to 5) live in the here and now and parents need to live in the moment too especially when it comes to communicating with a young child.
The key to raising happy kids, is stepping in with support based on a child’s cues.
Instead of telling a 3 year old that it’s time to get ready for some future action, like going to school, rather give your child a set of instructions, Replace ambiguous statements like “it’s almost time for school” with clear, simple explanations and directions, such as, “We need to leave for school. It’s time to get your bag”.
3. Support the shy ones
Kids with behavioural inhibition — a trait that refers to shyness and also extreme caution when facing new situations — may be at higher risk of developing anxiety disorders, according to researchers. And parents who shelter a shy child may actually make the situation worse.
The key to supporting shy kids is to get them out of their comfort zones without trying to change their nature. Research has shown that shyness is a part of some children’s character and a very difficult trait to change. In other words. It is better to work with shyness than against it.
4. Slow down
The hectic schedule of adulthood doesn’t always jell with the relaxed pace of childhood.
Children move at a slower rate and parents should try to match their pace. Schedule extra time for the little things, like a bedtime routine or going to the grocery store. Turn chores into more meaningful time with your kids.
5. Dads: Get involved
Research consistently shows that dads are just as good at this whole parenting thing as moms. Dads bring a lot of valuable parenting skills to the table.
Fathers strongly influence their kids’ lives in several ways.
Firstly, dads tend to play rougher with kids than moms do, which helps kids learn to control their bodies and emotions.
Secondly, dad’s hands-on style of play also encourages healthy risk-taking, which can influence a child’s ambitions in the long-term.
A strong paternal relationship brings with it a certain level of protection. Kids with involved fathers are less likely to become the victims of sexual abuse or assault.
6. Limit distractions
Do you read text messages, check emails or Facebook feeds while spending quality time with your kids? You really shouldn’t.
It’s impossible to engage with your kids if you’re distracted by other things. And this distracted presence can take a toll on children, who might feel like you’re not really there for them when you’re attention is divided.
“Children don’t need their parents’ attention 24/7 or 100 percent of the time,”. But when your kids do need your full attention, you should give it to them 100 percent.
7. Know your parenting style
Parenting is not one-size-fits-all. Kids whose parents tailor their parenting style to their child’s personality have half the anxiety and depression of their peers with more rigid parents, according to a study published in August 2011 in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.