6 Effective Ways To Raise A Happy Child

Photo: Evgeny Atamanenko | Shutterstock
parent and child in a fort

You want your child to be happy. Now, we know the definition of happiness varies. It’s easy to define happiness by how much money or material things you have.

I always say that you can’t define happiness by your bank account. But, society tells us something different. You need a new car or those new jeans.

I have found that what children want the most is your time. Maybe it’s cliche, but you really can’t buy love.

After working with children in my practice for nearly two decades, I've found that the root of anxiety in a child often comes from their relationship with their parents.

RELATED: Parents Of The Healthiest & Happiest Kids Do These 6 Things Every Day

Here are six effective ways to raise a happy child:

1. Make physical contact with your child

As a society, we are getting away from touch. This is how we connect as human beings.

Hold your baby. Don’t buy into letting them cry it out. This will make your child feel alone and insecure.

As they get older, dance and play with your children. This is what they will remember most.

RELATED: Parents: The Sweet Reason Your Kids Need To See You Act Lovey-Dovey With Your Spouse

2. Sing to your child

They love to hear your voice. Don’t worry about how you sound; just sing. You can sing your child’s name or favorite song.

I love to watch how their eyes light up when you sing to them.

When children are young, they will naturally hum a song. The next time your child does this, sing along with them.

This is a great way to connect with your child.

RELATED: The Priceless Thing Parents Must Do To Raise Smart, Creative Kids

3. Relish the 'mess' together

I will admit this is a hard one for me. But, you miss moments of joy with your child when you worry too much about the mess.

Ten years from now, the mess won’t matter. They grow up so quickly, you really don’t want to miss out.

Stop worrying about what your family and friends will think. What’s important is what your child thinks and that you have an emotional connection with them.

When they grow up they won’t remember the mess, they will remember you.

RELATED: The 9 Worst Mistakes You Can Make As A Parent

4. Cultivate a culture of gratitude

Identify what you are grateful for, however small it may seem. This will help foster an attitude of gratefulness in the family.

Your child learns from what you do and say. When you foster an attitude of gratefulness, it helps create compassion and hope.

Keep a gratefulness chart on the refrigerator, with some fun markers. Make it easy for your child to reach.

This way they write or draw on it when they feel grateful and everyone can see it.

RELATED: 5 Personality Traits All Grateful People Have, Even In Hard Times

5. Add positive affirmations to your daily routine

Remember, your child is trying to find their place in this world. You know this is not easy. Many adults are still trying to find their place, as well.

Affirm the positive choices your child makes. This is how they learn to navigate the world they live in.

You can do this with words or body language.

A simple smile will let them know that you approve of their choices. Be open to your child’s ideas and let them try new things.

Children love to think out loud. Make sure to support this. It will help with creativity.

RELATED: The Deep Emotional Skills Kids Learn From Regular Exercise

6. Explore the world together

Take time each week to learn something new with your child. Take a cooking class with your child, or a dance class.

Don’t worry about how you look. This will help level the playing field.

Your child will see that you have the same struggles that they have. Your child will also be able to relate to you and see that you have struggles and triumphs in life.

It will also let your child know, that they don’t have to be perfect.

Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t done these things. Remember, all good parents make mistakes.

And, it’s never too late to start with just one of these things today. Embrace the time you have with your child.

It’ll be gone before you know it.

RELATED: Kids Who Make These 6 Mistakes Become Successful, Happy Adults

Lianne Avila is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a practice in San Mateo, CA, and the founder of Lessons for Love.

This article was originally published at Lessons for Love. Reprinted with permission from the author.