Thursday, 29 September 2016

10 Steps to Giving Your Kids a Happy Childhood

3 happy kids, please pin this to pinterest


We went to speak to the school counsellor about Star and we were asked if she'd had any traumatic experiences...well, you know, just the usual, two lots of major surgery, constant pain, dislocations, broken neck, then there are the family problems including a mum that was paralysed in a day and is now mostly wheelchair bound. And her Grandad passed away suddenly at Christmas. I guess my child has had her fair share of traumatic experiences already.

Then we were asked, what are her happy times? 

Errrr, there has to be some? Pokemon, piped up Dad, she likes Pokemon. 
Holidays, I offered, we like to go on holiday and always have a fun time.

My 3 smiley happy kids on holiday

This made us think. Are our kids having a happy childhood? I know Star has had an usually traumatic time, and the other two have shared that too, but what about the happy times? Have there been enough, are we doing enough to give them a happy childhood, will they remember it being happy?

I've given it a lot of thought and come up with 10 ways you can make your kids have a happy childhood. 

  1. Love - has to be unconditional. It's important for a child to know that no matter what, you will always love them. They should not have their feelings belittled or their distress unheard. They will learn to love others. Love makes them value themselves and capable of valuing and loving others.
  2. Security - A child needs to feel secure to feel happy. They should always made to feel safe and protected at home.
  3. Play - It's not just about the latest toys and gadgets, it's about imaginative play and having fun with other children. Your child will benefit greatly if you play with them too.
  4. Boundaries - a child needs boundaries, you may think you are making them happy by letting them do whatever they want but they need to know that sometimes their parent has to get tough.
  5. Praise - gives them approval and lets them know that they are loved. It's always a joy to recieve praise from a parent. 
  6. Food and Exercise - a healthy child is a happy child that's simple.
  7. Wonder - A sense of adventure and wonderment triggers a lot of happiness. Learning new things can be fun, wanting to learn new things is even better. Fill your child with the love of learning and asking questions. 
  8. Practice Gratitude - Every day ask them what they have to be thankful for. Tell them what you are thankful for. Sometimes the good things pass you by, but not if you talk about them.
  9. Inclusion - Include them in your life, let them help you cook and do the housework. Let them see where you work. It's all one big adventure to them.
  10. Nurture Your Happiness - Be happy yourself and your child will pick it up. No-one can be happy all the time but letting your child seeing your happy side often will make them happy too.

A happy child doing something she loves, cooking at home with her sister
How much fun is cooking at home with your sister?

When I was a child I had some traumatic experiences too. My Dad passed away suddenly when I was young. My mum nearly died in childbirth with my younger brother. My younger brother nearly died. We had neighbours that blew their house up, literally, it was the biggest fire I've ever seen. I also had an operation and spent time in hospital. 

I survived all of this relatively unscathed. I look back at my childhood and I think of the fun and laughter that I had when my cousins came to visit, and that was often.I remember making mud pies in the garden and decorating them with worms. Although I was very young I still remember my Dad making up stories for me at bedtime and taking me to the Bluebell Woods at the weekend. I think of the fun holidays we had, mostly camping and with lots and lots of family coming along. I think of Christmas which was always full of fun, laughter and family. I think of running across fields with my cousins and walking all the way up to the Licky Hills to collect frog spawn for our pond. These are my happy things, these are the things I remember about my childhood.

happy kids playing in the back garden
Happy kids playing in the back garden


I hope that when my own children grow up they will remember their childhood as being happy. We don't have huge amounts of money, we don't go on exciting memorable holidays all around the world, we can't give them the amazing experiences that we think will make them happy. What we can give them is a rounded, happy upbringing full of love and laughter, wonderment and gratitude, boundaries, praise and security.

What do you think? Is there anything you would add to my list? Was your childhood happy, I'd love to hear your happy memories in the comments.

two happy children stroking guinea pigs
simple things like stroking a pet can make a child happy.

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