One of the greatest responsibilities of a parent is to ensure our children feel loved and happy.
While every parent knows that kids don’t always listen, many parents don’t realize the kids are always watching. You can use this fact to help increase your child’s happiness by remembering that what you do is more important than what you say.
Kids are especially sensitive to noticing when a parent chooses a person or activity over the child. As they grow and learn about the world around them, children naturally assign meaning to what they see. When you’re too busy for them, they can easily begin to feel that they’re not worthy of being one of your priorities.
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.
- 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.
- Everyone has deadlines we absolutely have to meet. But most of the time work can wait, our kids won't stay little for long.
- Teach your kids at home. Don’t assume that everything they need to learn they are learning sufficiently outside the home. When it comes to school, just like every other profession, some teachers simply aren’t very good. Help your child with their schoolwork.
- 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.
- I talk a lot about homeschooling and I encourage it if at all possible. However, what ever type of education you choose for your children, this is our responsibility alone.
- 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. The more input you can give them the more likely they will be to follow the rules.
- Limit the amount of media / technology exposure. 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.
- This is probably one of the most difficult. Technology is integrated into almost all parts of our lives and our children's lives.
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.