Three Tips For Raising Happy Children

Everyone wants to be a good parent who raises happy and healthy children. It's a lot of hard work, but I think every parent can agree that time spent nurturing children is always time well spent. Even through all the tough moments that parenting brings, you'll never lose sight of the end goal- wanting your kids to be happy. We live in a hard time where children are becoming less and less happy, and the amount of school age children who are diagnosed with depression is rising. Ten years ago this phenomenon would have been unheard of. I don't have all the answers to solve this saddening trend, but we do have some things that have definitely worked for us over the years. 

Rules And Rewards
Obviously rules aren't the funnest thing in the world to a five-year-old. The moment they're not doing something the way they want to do it, their little worlds start to crumble. One thing we did with Jay though that we didn't do with Em was setting rules from a very young age. I remember when Jay was 18 months old, we told him not to touch the ornaments on the Christmas tree, and then he literally never touched them ever again. We set the boundaries at a young age, and for the most part, he's always known what's acceptable, and what's not. 

Because we didn't do that with Em, we're dealing with huge power struggles in our house most days. One way we've been able to combat this is with rewards when she follows a behavior correctly. For big rules, like staying in her bed all night, we'll reward her with a physical prize, like a treat, or a small toy. For smaller rules like not whining, or eating her dinner before dessert, or not slamming doors, the rewards look more like positive reinforcement like, "Good job! You used your words!" or, "I love when you shut the doors softly!" Eventually, you should be able to phase out the rewards and your child will just follow the expected behavior, but they are a great tool at getting behavior going in the right direction.  

Fun Fun Fun
In a day and age where every household has iPads, phones, and other devices, it's so easy to give our kids a phone or something to play with to keep them quiet, but the truth is that kids need toys, and they need to physically play! I never thought that I would be the parent who loves toys, but I really do. I love watching my kids play race tracks or with a baby walker, and seeing them using their imagination through play is my absolute favorite. 

We were having some huge behavior problems in our home last year, and we came to learn that Em had a huge screen time addiction, and a lot of the behaviors we were seeing in our home were coming from screen time abuse. Over the summer we completely phased out screens and the energy and happiness of our home completely changed. If your kids are being super grumpy, I would totally recommend a screen fast and see how it changes the behavior in your home! 

Family Memories
The final piece of the puzzle, is to make sure that you’re creating plenty of family memories for your child to grow up with. The more they have to look back on, the more they’re going to be able to smile about the future!


  1. i love all of these tips!! i am all about clear guidelines and positive feedback, and i love that you mentioned that you set clear boundaries early on with the christmas tree! and gosh, isn't it crazy once it hits you that the screen time actually causes legitimate behavior problems?! it's quite a world we live in!! but your little sweetie's smile looks like you are doing such a wonderful job. :)

  2. I can't agree with you more! These are exactly the things that concern me the most and I try to follow your tips. Some days it works out great, others not so! But I just keep going, knowing that good memories are for life.