You really think I can be happy? Of course, it’s inside you…it’s inside all of us! And I don’t think it, I feel it!!
Remember these lyrics and the tunes of this cheerful song? Princess Poppy from the movie ‘Trolls’ was happily singing it to a bunch of grumpy trolls. The question is, do we know how to teach our kids to be happy?
The quest for happiness is something adults spend a lifetime searching for. Some go after fame and wealth, some give up everything to live a minimalistic life and others pursue spiritual paths through yoga & other retreats.
What if I told you that happiness can be taught to children from the age of 3, and as with any skill it needs consistent practice. It starts with teaching them how to be satisfied with their lives, how to feel good on daily basis and how live a purposeful life.
Daily, we need to teach our kids the importance of feeding their brains with healthy nutrients that will boost their brains’ performance. It is statistically proven that happy people are healthier. Zelna Lauwrens, Founder of the Kids Life Studio, says “equipping our children with good nutritional habits will lead to stronger bodies and minds that are able to tackle the world with energy. Nutrient depletion causes chemical imbalances which manifests in the inability to concentrate, depression, irritability, mood swings, angry outbursts, poor listening skills and behavior”. Happy people also exercise and relax before bedtime. Exercise and outdoor play are crucial for releasing the ‘happy chemical’, serotonin, to our brain which is essential in fighting stress and releasing negative energy. As for bedtime, switching off with a meditation or a visualization is a great technique to deal with stress as it helps in putting the brain waves into a relaxed state, allowing the brain to release positive chemicals.
How satisfied we are with our lives comes down to the relationships we have, the new positive experiences we venture on and how we savor them and our attitude of gratitude. We need to teach our kids to have meaningful relationships that add to them rather than take away from them. Teach them the importance of family it’s the first relationship they have, how to block negative people and how to embrace positive relationships. Venturing on new experiences starts from childhood raise them to have an open attitude to change, trying new things and savoring every moment through mindfulness. It is with our help that we can show them how to appreciate and enjoy the simple moments by practicing mindfulness together for example going on rainbow walks. Finally, there’s no better remedy to life than gratitude as it unlocks the fullness to life and as said “it is not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy”. Teach your kids gratitude with simple techniques such as writing down their gratitude of the day before bedtime or as soon as they wake up or just writing it down the minute they feel it. Teach them that there is always something to be thankful for; a simple ice-cream cone, a bicycle ride, a new gift or a playdate with a friend. It is truly the simplest ingredient to living a fulfilled life.
This brings me to my last point of living a fulfilled life. A key ingredient to that is teaching our kids how to serve others. Teach them to develop the attitude of “How much can I give away in a lifetime” rather than “how much can I get in a lifetime”. Fulfillment is about living a life that it bigger than the “You” circle. Teach them the importance of giving by choosing a family charity that you can all support, going on charity trips together, donating to the less privileged or how to save a bit of their allowance in the ‘I help others’ jar.
The secret to happiness is practice! Teach your kids to practice the above by introducing it to your family rituals; remember, kids learn through watching adults model the behavior. Let’s together make children happier, incase you forget how to do so here’s a great infographic https://my.happify.com/hd/science-of-happiness-infographic/?et=080f827f-3fa4-483c-8662-0446b4ed2e53