Do you remember how much fun hanging out with cranky kids can be? No, you probably don't because, well, they aren't fun at all.
But that one kid with the biggest, cheesiest smile on their face; that same smile where you can't help but return — those are the children where you instantly feel drawn to because of their happiness.
And you know who they are and which families they come from. You know their parents are doing something different to help create these happy kids.
Instead of wondering what these parents are doing, we are going to discuss five secrets to having happy kids and what you need to prioritize to make this a reality (The best part is it's not going to cost you a cent!).
Did you know that school-aged children (six to 13 years) need between nine and 11 hours of sleep? How much sleep is your child getting each night?
Parents with happy children help their kids get the sleep they need. They prioritize an early bedtime to make this possible.
If your children struggle with going to bed early, decide on a bedtime routine to help them prepare for bed. Will they be saying prayers? Are you going to read them a bedtime story?
When tucking them in, keep their rooms free from distraction (such as any technology, loud toys and other things they'll be tempted to play with).
Helping your child get the sleep they need might be difficult at first, but once a routine is established, you will notice a difference in their behavior.
Some parents, with good intentions, think material possessions will bring happiness to their children, when instead, after many years of buying these kids "stuff," parents create an unappreciative, demanding and resentful child.
The kind of happiness we want for our children is one that builds character and strengthens a child's resolve to stay strong during difficult challenges.
This is where investing in your child's faith and spiritual well-being is important. By prioritizing your child's faith (and the faith of your family), your children will begin to develop a sense of their eternal identity and relationship with God and others.
By being involved in their faith, children will be more likely to serve those around them and be a contributor in their family.
Your child needs you. Are you emotionally there for them? Do you put down your phone when they're talking to you? Are you spending one-on-one instructional time with them?
Happy kids have parents who are invested in building relationships as a family.
You don't need the picture perfect family, but you should strive for the kind of family where children feel loved and wanted at home. Children need to have the security and comfort of knowing their parents love them, feeling safe and even having friendships with their siblings.
How much do you know about your child? Do you know what makes them laugh so hard they start to snort? Do you know their fears and frustrations?
Parents with happy kids invest in their children. They take time to help their children learn and grow in the world around them.
These parents are their children's biggest cheerleaders and encourage their learning and developing. Their influence cannot be replaced in their child's lives and is so desperately needed to help create happy kids.
Simplicity is another key to having a happy child. Children don't need their schedules filled with activities every second of the day, and they certainly don't need the latest technology in their hands.
Happy kids have simplicity in their lives and throughout their day, whether this is in their schedule or at home.
Remember, no amount of money, no latest gadget and no material possession you could buy will ever give them the happiness they need to carry them through life's great difficulties.
Although many parents have fallen into the trap of letting kids parent themselves as they spend time on their tablets and phones, this doesn't have to be your kids. Remember, children need you, not the latest and greatest gadget.
You can help create happy kids who are hopeful for the future as you help your children get the sleep they need, help them grow in their faith, invest in your relationship with them and keep life simple.
How do you help cultivate happiness in your children? Leave a comment below, and let us know!