Jul 12, 2007

Ten Tips for Raising a Happy Child

Parentcenter has ten good tips for raising a happy child:
  1. Learn to read the signs
  2. Make room for fun
  3. Help them develop their talents
  4. Healthy bodies, happy children
  5. Let them struggle with problems
  6. Check in with your child
  7. Allow them to be sad or mad
  8. Be a role model
  9. Teach them to do meaningful things
  10. Get help
Click through for advice on how to implement the tips, plus tips for cheering up an unhappy child.

I had a revealing moment regarding #7 the other day. My older son didn't want to go to his grandparents' house and kept insisting (read: wailing) that he wanted to stay home and watch Bob the Builder. Telling him that he could watch Bob, play with his riding loader, and go in the pool at at his grandparents' house made no difference. I found myself telling him I was sorry but he had no choice, and then I realized I wasn't communicating as well as I could be. So I paused, then said, "You don't want to go to Grandma and Grandpa's. I understand that you don't want to go to Grandma and Grandpa's. You would rather stay home and watch TV here. But I'm sorry, we have to go because we promised them that we would come over." Then he paused in the midst of his wailing, and I offered him a (small) new toy car in exchange for his cooperation, acknowledging that leaving the house required some sacrifice on his part. The rest of the afternoon went smoothly and I learned a valuable lesson about the importance of respecting my child's feelings.

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