The Pursuit of Happiness…

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As parents we all want our children to be happy.  But what makes young children happy?  Happiness isn’t something you can just hand over to your child ~ it needs to be taught.  With lots of love, understanding and patience, we can help our children discover a lifetime of happiness.

Take time to read your child’s emotions.  A happy child smiles, plays and is curious.  Sadness, anger and anxiety all add up to an unhappy child.  But children need to know that it’s okay to be unhappy sometimes.  If you see that your child seems upset, you might say “You seem sad.  Is there something bothering you that you want to tell me about?”  Let your child talk, help him to label feelings and express them verbally. If there is a problem, resist the urge to jump in and fix it.  Children need to figure out problems on their own, so that they learn to cope with their emotions.

Have fun with your children!  Make sure that they have some time to just play and enjoy being themselves.   Time for lots of free, unstructured play will allow your child to discover special skills that they love to do!  Every child has unique gifts and talents – be it building with building blocks, turning somersaults or drawing.  Sometimes you may have to do some gentle nudging, but resist the urge to control the activity.  Remember that children need to follow their own interests, or there will be little joy in their successes.

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