Every parent wants their children to grow up to find health, happiness and success in their lives. Parents just need to follow these simple tips – advices that can be considered as “The Secret Recipe”:
How to support your children in being happy and healthy
Teach your child to be grateful:
Help your child appreciate all the things in life, irrespective of how big or small they are. You can express your gratitude when you are playing with your child in the park, watching the sunset, enjoying the beauty of nature-the greenery, birds chirping, pleasant aroma of flowers.
You can also encourage your child to maintain a diary in which to note down every night two to three things to be thankful for, before going to sleep.
- Pleasant weather
- Scrumptious dinner
- Learnt to ride a bicycle
- Loving family
Your child will grow up to be more connected with the world around him/her, interested and enthusiastic. With time, they will realize how lucky they are and will grow up to be responsible and caring.
2. Listen to your child:
Give them your undivided attention when they want to talk to you. When your child comes to you complaining about something, don’t tell them to stop criticizing or to stop talking negatively, instead hear them out so that they do not keep their emotions bottled inside them. When parents acknowledge their feelings, kids feel their parents understand them. Such children grow up to be communicative, happier and emotionally stable.
3. Create Routines and Family Rituals:
Instilling daily routines and family rituals develops a sense of security and strengthens family values and helps the child to be more socially fit and increases their productivity.
- Have at least one meal together daily
- Eat at regular intervals
- Eat healthy food-the family can plan to cook some healthy and delicious recipes together.
- Set bed and bath times
- Say a prayer before meals and before sleeping
- Go for evening walks together whenever possible
- Play board games
- Plan a vacation once a year
- Have regular family meetings to discuss problems and their solutions.
- Tell your children about your struggles, achievements, illnesses and your family history.
Such activities reinforce the importance of family and relationships, increase their self-esteem, and teach them to be responsible individuals. Yourkid’s health will also improve as they maintain habits like brushing their teeth, washing their hands and sleeping on time and will grow into healthy adults.
4. Encourage physical activity and a healthy body image:
Exercising, just running around, can not only make your kid healthy and fit, but also happy. It encourages the release of endorphins that triggers cheerful feelings. As kids grow up, girls/boys need to feel good about the way they look and that will come from having a healthy body image. This will develop their self-esteem.
- Exercise as a family
- Focus less on your child’s appearance, and more on their skills and character development.
- Encourage them to focus on the health benefits of exercise, and not how it will affect their appearance.
- Don’t comment or pass judgments based on physical appearance
- Teach your child that inner beauty comes from feeling good about yourself and not necessarily from physical beauty that is usually exhibited in media (which usually has a great impact on kids).
5. Make a Timetable/Schedule for your child:
See that your child gets enough sleep, limit their T.V. time and encourage unstructured playtime.
A child that does not get enough sleep is likely to be
- Moody-less able to manage emotions
- Less creative
- Less focused-which may affect grades
Children who watch too much television tend to be obese, less creative and unhappy. Instead, encourage them to play an outdoor/indoor sport that they enjoy like playing basketball, table tennis or ballet dancing, or just riding the bicycle or playing football. This will also have a positive effect on their academic performance as they will be more active-both physically and mentally.
6. Teach your child to be positive and cope with their emotions:
Your child should understand that it’s ok to
- Be sad/upset sometimes,
- Be frustrated when they unable to do things right the first time,
- Not win a trophy or an award every time.
- Have a fight or be mad at someone
- Be wrong about somebody or something
Let them vent their emotions, later you can explain to them that all feelings are acceptable but not all behaviors. Acknowledge their achievements and encourage them to think positively even if they don’t win or are wrong sometimes. It’s a part of life, children will be better able to express themselves, enjoy their success, and be more emotionally stable as a result. They will develop patience, persistence and discipline when they learn from their mistakes.
7. Set reasonable boundaries, allow them to make choices and do not over indulge your child:
- Parents should explain the logic behind the rules they set to their children and neither be too demanding or too lenient. If you set too high standards that the child cannot meet, he/she may feel ashamed, start undermining themselves and develop personality disorders. Over indulging your child leads to teens that are cynical and bored.
- Let the child make decisions-what to wear, what to eat, where to go, which classes to take up or even their own punishment. This way the child will be more disciplined, happy and be able to make wiser decisions in the future.
Finally, be a role model, love your child unconditionally and know your child – each one has their own weaknesses and strengths so guide them accordingly.