When it comes to raising kids, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all parenting method to ensure your child grows up happy and well-adjusted. Every child is individual with unique likes/dislikes, talents and communication style. However, more and more research is concluding that happy kids share certain lifestyle habits. Want to help your child find more contentment in life? Try these 5 habits of happy kids.
5 Habits of Happy Kids
1. Happy kids practice gratitude.
There is a growing body of research that suggests the more kids practice giving thanks, the happier they become. Those of us who practice gratitude ourselves don’t need research to tell us this. We know when we focus on gratitude in our current circumstances we feel better. The same goes for kids…giving thanks and reflecting on the good in life flexes their happy muscles. Try adding a gratitude practice to your dinner or bedtime routine by sharing three things you are grateful for, out loud, every day. It isn’t easy to practice gratitude all the time, if it was we’d all be happy 24/7. It takes practice…and patience.
2. Happy kids eat regular meals.
Are you happy when you’re hungry? ME NEITHER. Blood sugar control is the cornerstone to raising a happy child. When a child is riding a rollercoaster of blood sugar highs and lows due to skipped meals or carb-heavy snacks, grumpy behavior is unavoidable. Make sure your children are eating regular meals, with adequate protein and healthy brain-building fats to keep them happy.
3. Happy kids feel connected.
For years research has shown that social connectedness (i.e. having friendships) is related to happiness and contentment both in childhood and later in life. But new research is taking this idea a step further. Not only are social relationships important, but also feeling that life has meaning and purpose is important to overall satisfaction. Kids who feel their lives have meaning and purpose may even have stronger immune function! More evidence that our thoughts and feelings impact both our emotional AND physical state.
4. Happy kids know their voice matters.
Have you ever noticed that when you “half listen” to your children (as they are telling you a 20 minute story about ants in the park that morning) they just get louder, and louder, and LOUDER??? Even toddlers know the difference between active listening and distracted listening by parents. Being heard, REALLY heard, is so important to the development of self-esteem in children. Also, active listening connects us to each other, so by listening to your child you help to nourish a long and lasting bond together.
5. Happy kids get mad.
And they get sad. And they get excited. The point is that happy kids are free to express emotions when they feel them, in the moment, without shame. The timing might not always be ideal for you the parent (i.e. tantrum at Target) but it’s important your child let it out instead of stuffing emotions inside which could lead to bigger psychological problems down the line. Also teaching children that all emotions are temporary (even sadness and anger) will help them to develop healthy habits for dealing with strong emotions in life. A good way to teach children a deeper understanding about feelings and present moment awareness is through a practice of mindfulness.
Interested in becoming more happy yourself? Read this article!
Have you enjoyed these 5 habits of happy kids? Are you raising a happy kid? What happy habits help your family? Please share in the comments below!
Great list!! I am reading a book right now called Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids. It goes right along with what you are saying, and is probably the best parenting book I have ever read, and I have read a ton of them. It is all about connection and empathy, rather than punishment and consequences. I’ve been making changes with the boys in the last week and already see such a difference. It’s amazing to think you can discipline your kids without rewards, punishment, consequences, etc… but it works!
I’m so happy to hear this! I haven’t read the book, I’ll look at it, THANKS!
I LOVE this! We (CrabbieMasters) work to promote these healthy habits in families everyday through our CrabbieMasters program! Seeing articles like this create so much joy in knowing there are true CrabbieMasters everywhere, finding the joy in life through healthy life habits! Thank you for sharing!!
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These are 5 great habits! We also find that spending time outdoors is a key ingredient for a happy toddler (and mom and dad and baby brother…and dogs, too!) at our house. I love the gratitude practice idea – we are going to try that one tonight!
What a lovely list… I recently started the gratitude practice with my older boy. And its fun to hear the things theyre greatful for. But it also opens my eyes to the areas of parenting i need to focus on.
I also feel that outdoor activities with or without parents are also important to having happy children.
And it is sooo important to listen to them. Irrespective of if its the 30th time he’s telling you about dancing elephants.
Thank you SO MUCH for mentioning blood sugar. We didn’t realize until I was an adult that blood sugar fluctuations had caused most of my childhood behavioral problems. Take it from someone who still deals with this occasionally – it is nearly impossible for someone with fluctuating blood sugar to just “control themselves” or “behave”. Judgement becomes impaired and it feels like you have exposed nerves everywhere. and the slightest thing can ignite uncontrollable rage. Sugar or carbs, followed by protein, are effective for stopping a blood sugar crash.