Friday, November 1, 2019

The Secret to Having Happy, Healthy Kids is Not Really a Secret!

This week, the Miami Herald printed an article and the headline caught my attention: "Want happy, healthy kids? Spend more time with them, less money on them."

As I read past the headline, it stated that raising happy children boils down to a few things: love, comfort, and emotional and physical habits. Being the father of four adult children (ages 19, 21, 25, 26), and a step-dad to four children (ages 11, 14, 21, 22), I can tell you that the words I read resonate with me and echo the goals I've held to as a parent. Kids truly need to feel, and genuinely be, loved. It was nice to see that at the top of the list. Today, I want to share with you the ways the Miami Herald article outlines for guiding your child to a joyful life:

Love them. Give hugs and a listening ear. Kids just want to know they're understood, wanted, acknowledged and loved.

Focus on the positives. By adopting the "glass half full" scenario you're encouraging kids to look at situations in a different way.

Foster connections. Kids who feel a connection not only to you but to other family members, friends, neighbors, and even pets, are better protected against emotional distress.

Encourage play time, not screen time. Simple pleasures like climbing trees, digging in the dirt or just sitting on the front porch doing homework can help boost your child's mood. Ensure they're learning the art of conversation and the importance of downtime.

Practice gratitude. Discuss (regularly!) the things you feel grateful for or nice things someone did -- or you did for them.

Eat meals together. Family mealtime -- whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner -- is one of the best things you can do to raise happy kids. Children who regularly eat with their parents are less likely to be overweight or have eating disorders. And teens are less likely to experience behavior problems or substance abuse.

Don’t spoil your kids. Those who've been handed everything tend to grow up materialistic with high expectations. Instead, help them learn the art of appreciation by making them earn privileges. Similarly, focus on experiences rather than things. Creating memories as opposed to collecting more "stuff" is where true happiness lies.

Help others. When kids feel they’re making a difference -- whether it’s picking up trash at a local park or taking cookies to a nursing home -- they feel more confident.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso