With visitors frequently in and out of our home, or while on outings, we often get the compliment that we have “such happy kids.” Oh, they still have their grumpy moments and other human emotions at times (they are people!), but for the most part, they are joyful children.
Here are 10 Ways we have Encouraged Joyfulness:
- Remind them of their value, because God made them and loves them. (And we love them too!)
- Teach/Model Gratitude.
- Encourage Contentment instead of Entitlement. (This is where saying “no” often results in happier kids later on.) More isn’t always better.
- Make sure your face-to-face time is greater than screen time. Children accustomed to zoning in front of a movie may not be happy with being expected to converse. Also, real life takes a different pace than the constant dramatic voices/experiences (and happy endings?) of cartoons.
- Let them have their quiet space. Children crave their own quiet world sometimes, where they can imagine, read, color, whisper to themselves, etc. Honor this season of their souls; don’t immediately jump in to “entertain” (tickle, tell jokes, etc) without assessing the situation first.
- On the other hand, do get on their level and participate in their world. Sometimes they do want to share the experience of block-building, coloring, reading, paper doll play, or tea parties! Try to take a bit of time to engage, instead of saying, “Not right now; I’m busy.”
- Cuddle and say, “Did you know I love you?” (And show them.)
- Show respect. They are little people. Look them in the eye and really listen when they talk. Answer their questions. Give them privacy (you can shut the bathroom door, skip taking photos sometimes, and avoid posting every “cute” or “frustrating” anecdote on Facebook). Let them make (reasonable) choices.
- Let them participate in your life. Whether you’re baby-wearing during chores, slowing your steps a bit for a toddler, or mixing up some messes in the kitchen, they will enjoy being included in “grown-up” activities.
- Let them be their own person. Remember, they will make mistakes, disobey, and say embarrassing things in public as they learn and grow. Don’t take this to heart and feel guilty that it is a reflection of you- it isn’t. It doesn’t mean you are a “bad parent.” Just be consistently there, parenting, discipling, and encouraging.