What Really Makes Our Children Happy?

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What makes our children happy? When you become a parent, you find that advice is offered in abundance. Some it useful and some of it, not so much. We constantly hear about how to keep our kids healthy. And we hear about all the things we’re doing wrong. In the midst of all the noise, it’s hard to filter out how we can make a difference to our kids’ lives. And it’s not that difficult.

1. Support

It goes without saying that children need support. They need our advice and our guidance to help them learn independence. They also need to feel that they are supported, even when they don’t like the methods. This is where boundaries come in. Though they may push against them (that’s their job) children need boundaries. They need to feel as though an adult is in charge and that they are safe. Being too lenient isn’t always a good thing.

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2. Unconditional Regard

Being loved and valued for yourself, regardless of your achievements, cannot be underestimated. Parents sometimes push their kids to achieve. This is fine, of course. But if kids feel they are only appreciated if they do well, this can be damaging. Encouragement is important for growth and development, but there is a line.

If your child doesn’t do as well as expected, it is important they still feel valued. You can then take steps to review where they need help.

One area that children often feel under pressure is at school. Most schools rely on league tables to attract new pupils. So it’s important that their intake achieves to their full potential. If you feel your child is struggling academically, there are several options. Organisations like Teachers To Your Home provide professional tutor services. Or, if you have strengths in a particular subject, you could also assist your children. Providing the right support, motivating, and encouraging helps build confidence.

3. Time

One of the ways we all feel worthwhile and valued is when people give us their time. Gifts and words are great. But nothing beats someone wanting to spend time with you. This can be difficult in today’s economic climate. It seems that most of us are under pressure in all aspects of our lives. There’s a culture to always ‘be doing’. Even if your time is scarce, allocate as much of it as possible to your children. If you’re busy during the week, schedule in an hour in the evening where you can talk and play with your kids. And arrange to spend time with them at the weekend.

It’s easy to put things off and think, I’ll do that when this project is finished, etc. But there will always be another project or another job to do. Don’t let this important time slip away. Make the most of it. Prioritise and schedule family time as you would prioritise a work meeting.

Some would argue, and rightly so, that the most important thing we can offer kids is our love. And children need to know that they are loved, and they are important. Three simple ways we can demonstrate this is through providing support, unconditional regard and time. These are the important things. The fundamentals. And the building blocks of a happy child.

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