Hint: Gratitude is key to happiness
What does it take to raise a happy child?
A trip to the toy store and a pocketful of cash?
A loaded bag of candy after a night of trick or treating?
Popcorn, a movie and permission to stay up late?
While all these things might garner a few minutes or even hours of bliss, it’s not really the basis of a happy life is it? The best thing that a parent or teacher can share with children is lifestyle practices that will establish a positive mindset for years to come.
Here are four life practices children can start early that will radically change their overall disposition.
- Practice gratitude-while most of us think that we feel grateful after something happens that makes us happy…it’s really the other way around. The practice of gratitude, even when it isn’t obvious that there is something to be grateful for, actually creates a happy or joyful mindset. Teach children to look for and express gratitude daily. As they get older they can keep a gratitude journal where they can write or draw things they are grateful for. Here’s a great video on the importance of gratitude:
- Stay active–Children’s bodies were made to run, jump and move. The detrimental effects of our sedentary lifestyle have trickled down to even our children. Is it just a coincidence that depression and anxiety is now commonplace among children? Lots of research has been done on the beneficial effects of exercise on our mental outlook. Movement does not have to be organized sports. It can be a family hike or bike ride that not only lifts everyone’s spirits but creates family time to interact.
- Practice Mindfulness-teach children the advantages of mindfulness or meditation. In our always busy, frenetic, hyperactive world, many of us have lost the art of calm focus and stillness. Amidst cries of “I’m bored” we think that we have to be forever busy and entertained. In truth, creativity comes out of quiet time to just think. Teach children to be still and notice the world around them.
- Practice Random Acts of Kindness–We are most happy when we lose ourselves in service to others. Teach children to look for ways they can be helpful and kind to others both in big and little ways. Challenge them each morning to make it a great day for someone else…and they will make it a great day for themselves as well.
Wyatt Learns about Good Manners
Wyatt is always wondering about something and lately it is how to get his friend, Max to change his bossy ways. What can he do? Join Wyatt as he considers some rather unusual options until he finally discovers that a heart to heart talk with Max can create a new friendship with an old friend.