There’s a quote from John Lennon that I’ve seen floating around the internet for a while now, about life and happiness.
“When I was 5 years-old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
I’m never sure how true this little story is, but I love the thinking behind it.
Surely all we really want for our children is for them to be happy?
I’m not sure that happiness is something that we can teach to another person, but there are some things we can do to help our children to be happy, both now and in the future.
Get them smiling
It makes sense that the more things our children do that make them smile, the happier they’ll be. So encourage them to find activities that they enjoy and to do them as much as possible.
Did you know though that just the act of smiling makes us feel happier? Back in the 1870s Darwin suggested that showing our emotions physically helps to intensify them? So showing that we’re happy by smiling can make us feel even happier!
Help them build relationships
I wrote a post a while ago of 7 amazing facts about love, and one of those facts mentioned a study that was carried out over an impressive 75 years. At the end of the study the participants were asked what they felt the key to a happy life is, and the answer that was given more than any other was love and building connections with other people.
It can be really bittersweet to see your children get that bit older and start to form close relationships with other people. When they’re babies you are their entire world and I think it’s quite natural to feel this urge to want to hold on to that. But it is so important for their happiness and general well being for them to form good, close relationships with other people.
Encourage them to form friendships with the children in their class at school. Let them chat to the neighbours over the fence. Get together with family when you can so they can get to know their cousins, and aunts, uncles, grandparents.
Teach them to be grateful
Have you heard the idea that what you focus on expands?
Teaching our children to take a few minutes every day to talk about the good things that happened that day is a great way to help them be happier.
Focusing on all the things they have to be grateful for will help them to then notice more and more good things in their lives, and so build up their happiness too.
So there you go, three things we can do to help our children be happy – get them smiling, help them build relationships and teach them to be grateful.
These ideas aren’t limited to children either. Some days I think we could all use a reminder to focus on these things when we need a little happiness boost.
Do you have any other little things you do to help your children to be happy?