As a mother, I have often wondered how can I wake up and enhance happiness in children, in my daughter. Well-being, carefree, security or tranquility are some situations that can define happiness very well. Making our children happy is one of our main goals, although it is not always easy to achieve it. Having a happy boy or girl should be the purpose of parents as well as teachers and the whole of society. Do you feel that your child is happy?
For the psychologist Silvia Álava, 50 percent of happiness is due to genetic factors, 10 percent to the circumstances lived and the remaining 40 percent to emotional activity, which we can learn to control to be happier. This means, therefore, that happiness is also learned.
Teaching children to be happy is something that parents have to work on. And it is that not only will they change their way of living and facing the present day to day, but it will also modulate the way in which the little ones will face the future and the problems that arise.
Giving children a positive outlook can be difficult, especially when on many occasions we are not even capable of being optimistic ourselves. It is normal that it is difficult for us to see that little ray of sunshine (which is sure there is) between sibling fights, work stress, financial worries, the rush of every day ... That is why we must be the first to learn to be happy.
We cannot forget that the best learning tool that we offer our children is our example. Although we may not even realize it, the little ones are watching us at all times: how we react in certain situations, how we talk, what we eat, even how we move! And, being their closest references, they take us as a guide and internalize our example as their own.
Are you willing, then, you too learn to be happy?
Based on studies by Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky and María Jesús Álava Reyes, below we have developed a series of basic guidelines that help promote happiness in children. In short, it is about fostering gratitude, kindness, teamwork, communication, integrity ... There are eight keys to childhood happiness:
1 - To be nice. Kind children experience more satisfaction and energy, are more loving and agreeable, and enjoy social acceptance.
2 - Give the thanks. Gratitude promotes mental stability and enriches children's growth. Children value more what they have and their environment.
3 - Be positive. Children raised in a positive environment are more confident and believe more in themselves. They have more control of their mind.
4 - Do not label. Labeling of children should be avoided. Telling them 'you are bad', 'you are a crybaby', etc. They predispose them to shape their attitude to fit this profile.
5 - Do not dramatize. We must give their fair value to things and situations. We must extinguish behaviors such as hitting, insulting or disrespecting.
6 - Personal achievement. Children are happier if they achieve their goals on their own merits. We must encourage them in this regard.
7 - Autonomy. Stimulating the independence of children will enhance their self-esteem, security and self-confidence.
8 - Emotional intelligence. Children must learn to control and regulate their emotions to solve problems peacefully. That generates tranquility and harmony in your character.
A good way to make children a little happier is teaching them to think more positively. Once again, we have to appeal to the example as one of the most effective resources to educate the little ones. However, there are also other tools that transmit very important values to children such as kindness or empathy.
You may have ever heard of the jar of happiness technique. It is a very simple game that you can put into practice at home at any time, since you only need enthusiasm and a little bit as a family every night, before going to bed. With it, you will begin to be a little more aware that, although we do not always remember it or know how to see it, llife gives us many good things every day and beautiful that we must learn to value.
To carry out the bottle of happiness you need a small bottle, box or similar, folios and a pen. As simple as that!
This technique consists in that every day (or if you do not have time a couple of times a week) you find a moment for each member of the family to write on a small piece of paper something good that has happened to them during the day. At the end of the month (or after a while) you have to open the bottle and read aloud together everything you have written. You will realize all the good that has happened to you on a day-to-day basis, which is a lot!
Among the main benefits of this game we find:
- Children get a more positive view of life. How many good things happen to us every day!
- They learn to value the good in life, which is a lot and we don't always know how to appreciate it.
- This game teaches us to value the little things that also make us happy: a hug, something nice to eat, a thank you, a smile ...
- It allows us to spend a beautiful moment, every day, as a family. This will create a nice keepsake for parents, but also for children.
And, to finish, we propose a very useful tool to work with children abstract concepts, and therefore, more complicated to understand as is the case of happiness. Below you will find a small selection of stories that will not only help us enhance the happiness of the little ones, but will help them understand and know how to name this emotion when they feel it.
- The bottle of happiness
The protagonist of this story was sad, very sad! That is why he decided to go to a store where they sold bottled happiness and joy. Will he be happier? This story proposes a metaphor that will make your children reflect and will serve as an excuse to start a very interesting conversation about true happiness.
- The song of the nightingale
Does filling children with toys make them happier? This story invites us to think, both young and old, about what makes us really happy. Should we wait to be rich and have everything in abundance to be happy? Or do the little things count too?
- Felicia and the moon
The story starring Felicia teaches us that happiness has a very different definition for each one of us and what makes someone very happy may not make another person so happy. It is about each of us looking for that simple and easy to obtain detail that makes us smile every day.
- Lucas and his shadow
Lucas and his shadow were great friends, however, one fine day the shadow became very jealous that the boy had found other companions. How will they be happy together again? Find out with this children's story!
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