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10 Tips To Raise A Happy Child (2-4 Years)

5 min read

There are tons of articles out there on how to raise an intelligent child, how to raise a smart and successful child, how to raise a reader, how to raise a leader and so on. But if you ask a parent to look deeper into their heart and identify one thing that is most important for them, it would be invariably be the child’s happiness. Parents want their kids to be happy – through successes and failures.
Raising a happy child
What makes this challenging is the fact that quote often what makes the child happy is not what is best for him (think chocolates!!!!) or what is best for your child does not make him happy (think school!!!!). So the short cut to happiness is give everything the child wants? No. Research shows that kids who are spoiled or over-indulged in toddler years grow up to become joyless teenagers with a sense of entitlement. Then what is the secret? The secret is you do not provide your child with happiness (e.g. by giving him chocolates), you teach him how to be happy, which is more internal. If that sounds too psychological for you, let us break it down.

10 Tips To Raise A Happy Child

Here are 10 tips to follow during your child’s preschooler years (2-4 years) so that they grow up to become happy adults:

    1. Listen to your child: Reading your child’s emotions are easy enough during toddler and preschooler years. Their face usually reflects their happiness. They smile, laugh or look excited when happy. They look sad, withdrawn, and quiet or are not eating or interacting well when unhappy. Even when it is obvious, you need to encourage your child to talk about his emotions. Ask him questions like ” is something bothering you?” or ” are you happy?” Let your child think about his emotions and respond to your questions. This helps him sort out his feelings and sets stage for open communication between the two of you for the future. You will know that he is having problems and your attention may be required. Learn the signs and gain better insight into your child’s temperament. However, do not confuse shyness with being unhappy
    2. Be happy yourself: If you are always grumpy, then it is difficult to teach your child to be happy. Be a bit selfish and do things that make you happy. It could be going out with your friends for a coffee every other day, getting some ” me time”, taking breaks or travelling. Do things that relaxes your mind. Your happiness will mirror on your child for sure. It will also teach him to follow his heart to find happiness
    3. Have fun with your child: Your child is at his happiest best when he is with you. You are the key to most of his emotions. Once you understand this, then you can connect with your child better. Spend a lot of time playing with him. Be silly. Do impromptu things that he likes. When you combine the two things your child loves – you and playing – he becomes joyous and also develops skills. It will open another window of interaction, and your child will get a key to future happiness
    4. Help them find a skill they are good at and passionate about: Most artistically talented people talk about how they started practicing their art since they were a 2 or 3 year old. Your child becomes naturally happy if he has found a skill he is good at and is passionate about. By following this passion, and mastering the skill, your child will feel more confident and hence happier. Of course, it need not be something complex as piano classes or BharatanatyamIt could be something much simpler as doing hula loops or kicking the football into the goal post. The essence here is, that finding something to do that your child likes, and gaining skills for that with appreciation will pave way for a happy future

Give your child a hobby

    1. Create healthy routines: Children thrive on routine. A happy child eats, sleeps, studies and plays on time. Routine brings about security and certainty in your child’s life. It improves their productivity, makes them healthier and triggers some good habits for life – all of which contributes to happiness
    2. Stop being a helicopter parent: Do not assume that to make your child happy you need to hover over them all the time and do everything for them. You cannot, as we mentioned before, make them happy. In fact you need to step back and let them figure out things themselves. Let them experience struggle and unhappiness. Let them learn for themselves how to come out of it. That will equip them better for a happier life. On the other hand, if you do everything for them, then every time they face a road block – even in adulthood – they would want to turn to you. Read more about helicopter parenting here
    3. Teach them kindness: When you teach your child empathy and kindness, it makes them aware that the world does not revolve around them and that there is a bigger meaning to life. That said, you cant teach your child empathy. You can set good examples by being kind yourself and talking openly about it. You can also get your child thinking about other people’s feelings and emotions (” Do you think Zoya is happy with you snatching her biscuit?”). They might not get it fully in the beginning, but with time they will. Read more on raising an empathetic child here

Laughing toddler

  1. Help them build and nurture relationships: They have strong bonds with you, your spouse and your parents. But they need to connect with others as well – neighbors, your friends, uncles, aunts, cousins, school mates and so on. The more connected they are with the people around them, the more loved and acknowledged they will feel. That said, your unconditional love for him will see him through many a difficult days. So please do not engage in dialogue that suggests that your love is conditional (” mumma will love you only if you finish your food”)
  2. Teach them patience: Teach them how to wait. Tell them there is no rush. Make them understand that what they want to do – however they feel it is important – might not be a priority for others. You can start practicing this at home. Do not drop everything and rush to him if he wants a toy from the upper shelf. Ask him to wait for you to become free. During group play, teach him the importance of waiting for his turn. Engage him in activities that demands tolerance – like fixing a jigsaw puzzles or sowing a seed and watching the plant grow. This is especially important in today’s world where kids are used to getting what they want by touching their ipads
  3. Offer praise in plenty: We at beingtheparent.com always stress on positive reinforcement. Whenever your child does something right, make sure he knows you noticed and that you appreciate. That said, offer praise only when it is justified. Overtly showering your child with praise would mean that as he grows older he would expect everyone around him to appreciate him all the time, which can lead to demotivation and disappointment

Child research scholar say that happiness is not something that your can give your children, you have to teach them to be happy. Parents can do solid groundwork to raise kids who are happy, and create a lifetime of happiness.

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