A happy childhood is one of the ways to ensure a happy life. Problems which children must face often manifest themselves later in their adult lives. Of course, this is not always the case, but who doesn’t want to offer their child a happy childhood anyway? In this article, we look at some of the most important factors to promote a happy childhood.
Firstly, it is necessary that children feel cared for and protected at home. Not only their basic needs should be covered, but we must also ensure they have parents and a family that is ready to listen and that understands the importance of having time for them, even if they do not have so much themselves. This allows children to feel respected, making it more likely they will respect others and have good relationships with them. It also helps parents to form a closer relationship with their children, as they will feel more inclined to share their problems.
Children are some of the most vulnerable members of our society, who have not yet learned how to regulate their emotions or to manage their problems. If we take this into account, we can understand our child’s tantrums better. We mustn’t react unfairly even if we are tired after a long day at work. We must remind ourselves they are only children, and it is our responsibility to help them to manage their emotions. Often, the young copy the reactions of their own parents. We need to watch out own moods and analyse how we ourselves speak to others and react when faced with difficulties so that we can transmit these good habits down to our children.
The idea of helping children to manage their own emotions also includes encouraging means of developing their own wellbeing and health. Children who know how to take care of themselves are better prepared for an adult life where they will have to face large amounts of stress, making them more likely to be happier and to reach their objectives. To do this, we must ensure children have time to relax, to take a bath, to maintain good hygiene, to reflect by meditation, conversations, or other mindful practices such as yoga, and to eat a good, balanced diet. We must teach them how to be grateful for the little things in daily life, so that they understand that passing emotions are only temporary.
To ensure our children eat healthily, we should encourage them to eat vegetables and to appreciate food. There are a wide range of recipes that we can try using a variety of vegetables. We can also increase our use of spices and herbs to vary flavour. By doing this, our children (and us!) eat better, improving their mood as well as their growth and their brain and body development. If you don’t have much time, we recommend preparing healthy recipes in advance and conserving them or to start, for example, incorporating one new recipe each week.
Another important aspect in the development of a happy childhood is having sufficient time for leisure activities, although it is important to make sure this doesn’t become an obligation for the child. We should encourage them to try new sports, to play instruments, and to be creative, without forcing them to do something they do not want to. Other types of leisure activities also work… Sometimes we underestimate the value of spending time together playing games, reading books, like those from Materlu, with our children, or going for a walk in the park. There are a huge variety of activities for children to try that can be adapted for all budgets. This is another way of ensuring the general wellbeing of your child, reducing their stress, and improving your relationship thanks to the activities you do together.
Children must have good relationships with others, including their friends and their teachers. As we have mentioned, children copy what they see and the ways in which their parents interact with others, which is why we also recommend working on your own relationships. We should keep our homes open to our childrens’ friends, show them that we have a good relationship with their teachers and that we are interested in their social lives, intervening without judgement if we think that there are certain aspects that could be improved, or if we think that they need to meet more children. If we reinforce our own child’s sociability, we can contribute to helping them have a happy childhood.
Over time, we are seeing a change of attitude towards children, who are now seen more equally, and harsh methods of discipline used in the past are no longer common. We must remind ourselves that, above all, they are only children, and our homes must be a place where good habits are encouraged, together with good relationships and the promotion of values that children will use throughout the duration of their lives. Children bring joy to the lives of their parents, but we must also be conscious of our responsibility towards them to ensure the best upbringing possible. One example of a relationship between parents and children can be seen in the story The Great Chef.