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Every parent wants the best for their child–to be happy is one of those things that we all want! Remember, you know your kids best. There’s no cookie cutter mold to what works best for everyone’s family. Here are 5 tips to raising happy children. 5 Secrets to Raising Happy Children

1. Play! It’s no surprise that play is important in a child’s life, but children who play are learning more than you know. They are learning important social skills as well as developing their motor and academic skills. Spending time playing with your child shows that you think your child is important as well. So get down on the floor, play, pretend, climb, build–and you will be building an essential part of raising happy children!

2. Think and speak positive. Try your best to create a positive household. This can be easier said than done, that’s for sure. So start with small changes. We created a Month of Positive Parenting that has a tip a day to make small changes to create a more positive environment. Speaking to our children in a positive way will, in turn, show them that we respect them and they will learn to speak positive and respect others as well.

3. Step back and foster independence. In today’s society, there are a lot of helicopter parents. Do you find yourself wanting to complete tasks for your children or help them with everything they do? Take a step back and foster their independence–it will pay off in the long run. Let your child try climbing that rock wall at the play ground alone. See your child with another child arguing over who gets to play with a toy? Let them try to figure it out for themselves first. The self-esteem boost your children will have from solving their own problems and conquering tasks on their own is sure to be key in raising happy children.

4. Know your kid’s cues.  Every child is different–which means, every child has different cues to watch and pay attention to. Knowing your child’s cues will help in raising happy children. For example, if you know what cues to watch for when your child is tired, you know to lay your child down for a nap or bed (even though it might not be their typical bedtime or nap time). For my older brother, he would pull at his ears when he was tired. For my son, he finds the nearest lap and curls up (which isn’t typical for my active child). Watching for cues for hunger, tiredness or sickness are things we all know to look for. But you also need to make sure you’re paying attention to cues for when your child is overwhelmed in a situation and it’s just best to end the activity or leave a gathering. In the long run, listening to your child’s cues will show your child that you value their self worth and make everyone happier!

5. Take care of YOU! In raising happy children, it’s easy to focus on what we need to do for the children to be happy. Make sure they get enough rest, healthy food to eat, routine physicals, reading to them, etc… It’s also easy to forget to focus on something else very important–YOU! It’s no secret that your health and happiness is just as important as your child’s. When your child sees a parent taking care of their own physical and mental health, they know that health and happiness is a priority in the family. When a child sees a stressed out parent, they often internalize that stress as well. So it’s important to take care of your mental health just as much as your physical health! Positive parenting is so powerful and it starts with a positive self image and attitude on the part of you–the parent!