By Ashley Maturo & Amy Kostak.
All children are born with personality traits that remain relatively constant throughout their lives. Some kids are more sensitive or more withdrawn. Others are born more active or more persistent.
But two traits that can change, with a little help from parents, are optimism and resilience. Optimism is a positive outlook and hopefulness; resilience is the capacity to effectively bounce back from challenges. These traits are key components of happiness. The good news is that happiness is a skill that you can teach your children.
Here a few ways you can model and promote happiness for your kids:
1. Maintain Meaningful Relationships
Children learn how to develop friendships by watching their parents build relationships. People who have one or more close friendships tend to be happier. But, “close friendships” go beyond Facebook or Instagram. Deeper connectedness involves intimacy and vulnerability, sharing personal feelings and cooperating with one another in activities.
2. Volunteer Together
Doing good for others makes us feel good about ourselves! Helping those in need gives a strong sense of purpose, and people who volunteer on a consistent basis are more likely to feel happy and confident. Volunteering as a family will increase everyone’s happiness!
3. Practice Gratitude
Being happy is all about getting into the right mindset. Thoughts that express gratitude and optimism within our daily lives help us create a more positive outlook on our futures. Grateful people are more likely to have a strong sense of belonging and experience more positive emotion. Consider implementing gratitude practices into your family life. Here are a few ideas:
- At dinner or before bed, have the whole family say what they are thankful for about that day.
- Create a gratitude journal with your child and schedule a time to write together.
- Post appreciations on the fridge or stick them into lunchboxes.
- Ask kids to share a time in the day when someone was kind to them or when they were kind to someone else.
In addition to overall happiness, optimism and resilience are linked to well-being and success. By modeling these traits, you are giving your kids a gift that will benefit them into adulthood.
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