What makes a happy family? It's what we all want, right? A happy, fun family for our kids to grow up in is the ideal we strive for, but what makes a family truly happy? Here are some tips based mostly on my own opinion, but also articles I've read on the subject.
1) Have Family Dinner Together.
This sounds so simple, but as the kids get older it gets harder and harder. Don't give up! Those family dinners together are probably the only time all of you are together during the day. According to this Time Magazine article, "The most comprehensive survey done on this topic, a University of Michigan report that examined how American children spent their time between 1981 and 1997, discovered that the amount of time children spent eating meals at home was the single biggest predictor of better academic achievement and fewer behavioral problems. Mealtime was more influential than time spent in school, studying, attending religious services, or playing sports." Even if you can only do it once a week, it's worth making Family dinner together a priority.
4) Display family photos on the wall
Now, before you roll your eyes that the photographer is saying this, it's really true! Displaying family photos on the wall gives your children a sense of belonging, and higher self-esteem. Photographs of themselves and their family and extended family makes them feel loved. It also makes you feel happy every time you see them.
5) Establish Routines and Rules
Routines can be boring, but studies show children who have routines, and know what to expect are happier and more successful. They never have to worry about what is coming next, and they know exactly what is expected of them. It makes them feel comfortable and safe.
6) Make Family Traditions a Priority
Do you decorate the Christmas tree every year the day after Thanksgiving? Do you eat chocolate for breakfast on Valentines Day? What are your family traditions? These things are important and exciting to your children. They look forward to things you do as a family. These are the moments your children will remember when they are older.
I love photographing the families I do. Siblings teasing each other, Dads making their kids giggle, and moms snuggling their little ones are what make me happy. I am so lucky to view happiness through my camera and on my computer screen every day. Your happiness is my happiness.
2) Let your kids have a say.
Let them have choices in their lives. Let them have a say in how they spend their time, with your guidance of course. Studies have shown that letting your children choose their own punishments makes them think harder about avoiding them. Let them choose their rewards also. They will work harder to get them. These decisions develop powerful cognitive skills.
3) Don't be so stressed out!
The number one thing your kids want from you is your time, but time when you're not worried, tired, and grumpy. It's worth it to take a good look at your life, and change what is making your have stress. I realize this is much easier said than done. It's true that if you are stressed, your kids will be stressed out and that leads to lots of problems for them academically, socially, etc.