As a parent the thing I want most for all of my children is to be happy.  I don’t mind how they get there and I’ll support whatever path they wish to take, but understanding what makes us happy along the way will help them I’m sure.  A lot of parents say the same thing, and we all invest a lot of time and energy in encouraging our children to be happy, but do we get it confused with other things like success or material gain sometimes? When we first have children we spend money on new toys and trendy pushchairs to make ourselves and our babies happy so when do we get confused of what’s success?

 

It got me thinking, how do we encourage our children to be happy, now and later on in life.  What makes us adults truly happy?  Is it the new dress, the new car?  These do give us an element of instant gratification, but do they make us happy?  I’m not sure they do in the long run.  When did you last feel truly happy?

 

Princess had a play date the other day and her friend bought her favourite Dolly with her.   Of course Dolly caught Princess’s eye, she was bigger than her Dolly and reminded her of her favourite from nursery.  She waited for her friend to discard the Dolly and went into make her claim.  ‘My Dolly’ she proclaimed, triumphant.  By this time Princess’s play date had moved onto the pushchair.  The satisfaction of acquiring the Dolly was incredibly short lived and I think you might guess what happened next.

 

Us adults experience the most prolonged feelings of happiness  when we do something for someone else.  When we lend a hand, when we have a dinner party, when we give a gift.  Not only do these things make us happy, but they make those around us happy too. Happiness is infectious!  When are children are happy, we are too, right?

Princess seems her most content when she is helping, sharing or giving and I don’t think this is just a girl thing .  She is at her happiest when she is sharing an activity either with me or her friends.  She loved making Easter Bunnies at the weekend and painting with Mummy.  Her favourite role play activity is running a cafe.  She loves to make everyone tea and cake and will spend hours serving us.

 

How to make children happy

 

She enjoys taking care of her Dolls, feeding them and putting them to sleep.  This is an activity that I’ve questioned a lot as I don’t want her to feel it’s her ‘role’ in life, but in the context of enjoying caring, it makes her happy.  The issue isn’t whether she should do it, but should boys be encouraged to do it more because of the feelings of happiness it encourages.  It’s not just her dolls she likes to take care off, she likes to give an upset child a hug or the toy they’ve dropped.  These things bring the most genuine smile to her face, she is happy.

 

All this has left me thinking that the secret to helping our children be happy is helping them enjoy the little things, helping people, sharing, giving and being kind.  Obvious, right?  This isn’t just for girls and it’s certainly not a weakness as I can see the true feelings of happiness it gives Princess, and that it gives me as an adult.  There is a place for success, achievement and wanting a lovely home and nice things, but these aren’t to be confused with what makes us and our children happy.  You could have all these other things but never feel truly happy if you didn’t understand where happiness comes from in the first place.

 

I’d be really interested to know how you encourage your children to be happy, please leave a comment, all are read and I do my best to reply or pop over to your blog in return.

 

Lets Talk Mommy  SuperBusyMum

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16 COMMENTS

  1. I’m all for increasing their self-worth – making them proud of themselves rather than being desperate for our approval. When they work hard at something, I want them to do it for themselves and feel that sense of achievement. I love how independent my girls are – they don’t seem to feel the need to follow what school mates are doing but are happy being themselves. Very interesting and thought provoking post.
    Helen at CAsa Costello recently posted…Hazelnut Ficelle – Bake of the WeekMy Profile

    • Hi! Thanks for a great comment and reading my post. I completely agree, having children who are confident enough in themselves and can be happy in their own skin is really important. Seeking other’s approval isn’t what makes us happy.

  2. I think the essence of happiness is allowing our children (and ourselves) to be who they (and we) are. Not to try and mould them into something we imagine they should be, but allowing them simply to just ‘be’. And yes, enjoying the smaller things and the everyday as much as the bigger moments too.

  3. This is such a lovely post! Its not just a girl thing! Because my daughter and younger sons love to help out and they are most happy when helping Mummy do Mummy things! They tend to feel super grown up when they chip in with you I think.

    Your little ones Bunnies look AWESOME!! Thanks so much for linking up to #MMWBH xx

  4. Great post. My daughters happiness is something I think about a lot as I have suffered with a lot of anxiety over the years and it’s my biggest fear she will experience the same.
    She is such a happy sunny child so I’m hoping she takes after her Dad and not me!
    She sounds similar to your daughter, she loves looking after her toys and always has cuddles and kisses for friends and family 🙂 x Char

    #MMWBH

  5. We all want our children to be happy and I think sometimes we try to make them happy by showering them with toys and treats but to be honest my children are most happy when I play with them, all they really want is my time and attention 🙂 #sharewithme

  6. I agree that we can get confused about what really makes kids happy. My parents think that giving my son treats makes him happy, in the end we have an overtired miserable boy. What my little boy really wants is to spend time with us. He wants to play and know we are having fun too. So I think that what really makes kids (and us) happy is simple – sharing time together and having fun.

  7. Great post. Very interesting to think about it. I don’t think material things make children happy, ultimately my children are happiest when we are spending quality time together, playing and sharing.

  8. I think you are absolutely right giving, sharing and playing together and being a team with others in social settings will bring happiness upon them. Surrounding people and kids alike with positiveness will always bring happiness it’s a proven fact. I notice when we play with nice children that are fun happy and sharing and playing together my two are more happy than when we are around a naughty child being mean and not sharing. Fantastic post as always I love your writings and your blog is amazing. Thank you for your continual support on my blog I can’t tell you enough. #sharewithme

  9. Can I be honest that I such an emo-negatron person. Surprisingly my son is a happy soul. He is always smiling & a lot of times would ask me if I am happy and if I am not he would touch my face and tell me its going to be okay. I know that sooner or later I have to change my ways and be happy so that i wont pull my son down with me. #sharewithme

  10. This is a lovely, interesting post.

    Time is my number one. We spend every day with our children because we home educate. It wasn’t always this way and we were all very unhappy. Now my children have their parents with them and they are confident and happy. They don’t have masses of material things because our choice was time over income. My husband is happy because he now works from home and I am happy because I’m at home and this equates to happy children. I believe that if the parents are happy and relaxed then the children are also happy and relaxed.
    They are able to explore their interests and this also makes them both happy. There is no fear associated with getting something ‘wrong’ – no pressure and this makes them happy.
    We don’t have much in terms of money but we have time for each other and that makes us all very happy.

    Thanks for a lovely post.

  11. What a lovely and reflective post. I think that the things that make Grace happy are the simplest things – spending time with us as a family, film nights and togetherness. It is too easy for people to buy children happiness. You don’t need to! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

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