Between well intentioned family, friends, social and main stream media it seems everyone is making resolutions to ring in the New Year. By mid-January you may be rocking your goals and feeling great, or giving in to habits or behaviors you set out to change.
As a parent my goals stay pretty consistent from one year to the next. I want my children to be happy. Specific goals may vary based on the year, the larger goal remains the same. So, how does one raise happy children?
According to Christine Carter, Ph.D, executive director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, and author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. The first step is to get yourself happy. It turns out that how happy you are directly affects how happy and successful your kids are. The problem is that most parents spend the majority of their time catering to the needs of others, and they forget or just neglect their own needs. Here is an abbreviated list from the New York Times on scientifically proven ways to be incredibly happy. https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/10-scientifically-proven-ways-to-be-incredibly-happy-wed.html
1. Eat more chocolate
2. Ignore tip #1, it was a joke. But you do need to smile and laugh more.
3. Exercise. According to the American Heart Association we should strive for 60minutes a day.
However, research shows that just 7minutes a day can improve our overall happiness.
4. Sleep longer. Adults should strive for 8hrs per night, your body needs time recover from each
day, as well as digest food and information. Sleep helps keep away the negative thoughts and
5. Spend more time with friends and family.
6. Spend time outside. It only takes 20min a day to feel the positive results.
7. Mindful breathing and meditation
8. Practice Gratitude. Make a daily list of 3 or more things that brought you joy, happiness or
made you feel grateful. Do not focus on the negative.
Here are two more steps you can take to be a happier parent according to KJ Dell’Antonia, author of How to Be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute.
- Teach your kids to do things for themselves. The way you parent and take care of your
child’s needs should evolve and change as your child grows.
- Kids don’t always come first. All of your weeknights and weekends should not revolve around
your child’s sports schedule or social calendar. You should have a few things in your life that you prioritize. See above list for examples.
Bring on the New Year, and bring on the small changes to make 2020 a happy one, for you and your children.