I’m no parenting expert but I’ve sure done my fair share of research on how to encourage happiness and raise great kids. Here are my top 5 of the simple tips I’ve gathered:
1)END OF DAY SHARING
As soon as you are able- implement a wind down time at the end of your day where you ask your child to tell you their most and least favourite parts of the day. This will give you insights into what they value and how they think, not to mention encourage communication and set the stage early on for open dialogue. Also, it’s a great way to start a habit of always appreciating what you are grateful for. Never judge- just listen.
2)EXPERIENCES OVER STUFF
Make more memories and give less stuff. Not only does it teach them to use their imagination and be happy with less, it helps avoid overwhelm and clutter. When you create experiences with your children, they will remember them and appreciate them much longer than the things you buy them. Less material things will also make for a less overwhelming living space for all of you.
Over and over we hear experts telling us that kids need to get outside more. They are not getting fresh air, they are not getting moving, and they are not learning to appreciate the beauty and abundance of nature. Stay away from the electronics and plastic, battery operated toys and send them outside when they want to play. It’s a learned skill that we can foster by not offering other alternatives. This can start as early as the newborn days, get them outside in their stroller or a baby carrier!
Keep your kids physically close to you. Meaning, take more trips, DO more together if possible, and just physically be together more. How many hours a day are they in childcare or school? Is there any way to shorten this? Keep close bonds with extended family. If you can’t be around more, try getting the family involved. It is the number one way to prevent peers from taking your place as the kids get older. It took me awhile to understand attachment theory, and although my boys were only 4 when I really started digging into it, I feel I waited 4 years too long to wrap my head around it. It is one of my regrets as a parent that I didn’t take time to understand it sooner. This is the book that really educated me on this topic.
5)THE INTENTIONAL BOOKSHELF
Read with them early and often. Not only does this build that physical closeness between you and them, but books are an incredible way to build all sorts of skills in your kids and they are also a fantastic tool for helping guide their moral development, in addition to helping you parent! Here is a post I did where I reviewed a book on this very topic.
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