As a mother of two young girls and as a pediatrician who cares for kids from birth through age 21, I cannot count the times I have heard a mother say, “All I want is for my child to be happy.”
It is of utmost importance that a mother be equipped to empower her children with the tools to guarantee a lifetime of happiness.
Happiness is a choice.
We must choose to be happy, and we must teach our children that they can choose to be happy, too. We must choose to find happiness in everyday things. Teaching your children to look at the glass as half-full, and to see the world through rose-colored glasses, is a good thing. Optimism brings happiness. Teach your child to smile often. Smiling is an amazingly effective practice that not only creates your own happiness but helps those around you to be happy. My kindergartener already knows that when she smiles at someone, chances are they will smile back.
Happiness need not be transient if we focus on true happiness.
True happiness is not achieved through conditional things such as financial success, ownership of material items, sex, or alcohol and drug use. The happiness we experience in getting a new car or a bigger home is transient. We must teach our children that material items do not bring true happiness. True happiness comes from within.
How can we find our inner happiness?
Training our brains to be calm enables us to become in tune with our true inner self. Teaching our children yoga and meditation at a young age can help them focus within. We must ensure our children know their own self-worth. Regardless of what a child wants to become in life, they are worthy people as long as they are trying their best, doing what they want to do. We are all unique individuals, and must love ourselves just for being who we are.
Your children must believe in themselves to be happy.
Your children must learn the importance of being inwardly strong and beautiful. Spend time with your children every night, reading them inspirational books that build their own self-esteem. In teaching our kids to be strong, we will create children who are able to make good decisions and be in control of their lives. They will be able to set goals and work to achieve them. A sense of strong self-worth is crucial to happiness.
Live in the NOW.
Do not focus on the past or the future. “The past is dust,” it cannot be changed. The future is just a thought in your head. If you focus on the present with your children, you will gain great happiness in the little things that are happening right now. And your kids will be happy that you’re being “present” with them.
Play uplifting music, and dance.
Playing music that makes you smile can help you remain happy. Music can affect the dopamine levels in our brains, and choosing uplifting music can have a positive emotional effect. (In my house, we play lots of ABBA, Raffi, Free to be You and Me and Secret Garden these days.) We dance and we smile, and we are getting exercise by dancing.
Promote daily exercise.
Exercise stimulates the brain to regulate stress hormones and promotes the release of endorphins. Not only does exercise have a physical benefit but a great psychological benefit as well. The benefit of walking regularly should be instilled in our children at a young age. For those of us that find it difficult to walk, let our children be our inspiration. Most children love to take walks. It is beneficial to your cardiovascular system, and a great way to spend time together.
Share your happiness with others.
Create a loving, nurturing family environment. Teach your children the importance of both your own family and the greater family we, as Earth humans, are all part of. Teach them to be are respectful and loving to Mother Earth and to “all creatures great and small.” Teach them to love all people regardless of race, nationality or religion. Children must learn to love themselves and to spread their love by letting their “love-light” shine brightly on everyone around them. Helping others find happiness will not only make you happy, but will make the world a happier place.
Happiness is not age-dependent.
Yet, it has been my observation that we seem to lose our happiness as we grow older if we do not truly make the choice to remain happy. Once you have found happiness, hang on to it! Remember, happiness is a choice. Choose to be happy. Smile daily. I am smiling now, and my children are smiling back at me.
Books that Boost Self-Esteem
- “Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids”
by Carol McCloud
- “Something Special Within”
by Betts Richter
- “I Believe in Me”
“What I Like About Me”
by Allia Zobel-Nolan
- “I’m Gonna Like Me … Letting off a Little Self-Esteem”
by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell
- “Is There Really a Human Race?”
by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell
- “How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids”
by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer