HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILDREN CREATE THEIR OWN HAPPINESS

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By Penny Alexander and Becky Goddard-Hill

The one thing all parents/carers have in common is the desire for their children to be happy. Sometimes this can seem to be frustratingly beyond our control, can’t it?

But there are things we can do and we can start by encouraging kids to create their own happy.

Happiness is in our control

One of the most wonderful things about happiness is that at least 40% of it is in our control.

Yes, I know that sounds bizarrely precise but research has agreed that this is the percentage of happiness that is down to us.

The other 60% of stuff that impacts our emotions is situational and we cannot always do much to change that.

But, knowing we have the power of making at least 40% of our lives happy, is pretty fabulous.

Teaching our children the skills to maximise their control over their happiness is one of the most important life lessons we could ever pass on.

Create Your Own happy is an interactive activity book filled with happiness boosting lessons and activities designed to empower kids. It is also lots of fun and really inspiring.

Each activity is backed by science. Kids, just like adults, love to know WHY they should do something. Each activity also comes with a quote to motivate them.

Quotes like: ‘Always be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud’ from the wonderful Maya Angleou.

Creativity

We believe in purposefully encouraging of creativity.

It’s not just the pride and satisfaction of creating something that can boost a child’s happiness but it is the process of creation that can help them feel joy.

Getting in the flow of creativity can help them feel deeply content and relaxed. Schools focus on this less and less but creativity is a proven track to joy.

Through a series of creative and reflective exercises focussed on happiness parents can really support their children’s emotional and social development as well as their resilience and positive mental health.

We encourage parents to get creative with their kids – not only is it fun but it is deeply bonding.

Happiness starts with you

The book begins with activities deigned to help a child take responsibility for making themselves happy.

Far from being selfish this self-caring is vitally important. From childhood to adulthood the principal is the same - we cannot spread happy unless we feel it first ourselves.

Every parent knows a bit of self-care and attendance to their own happiness goes such a long way.

We encourage children to reflect on what makes them happy by creating a jar filled with happy memories; this is a lovely activity to do as a family actually.

What we focus on matters in life and focussing on the happy stuff always increases our happiness. Once children learn this they can gain some power over their emotions.

We also encourage kids to make a happiness collage, really thinking about what makes them happy as individuals.

We look too at expressing feelings, using music to change mood as well as celebrating individuality.

Our message is consistent - we tell kids again and again ‘you CAN create your own happy.’ It is within your power to change how you feel and boost your joy.

We can spread happiness

Teaching kids how to spread happiness is one of the best ways to help them make really positive social connections.

We give them lessons around being inclusive, being great cheerleaders, how to connect via letters and with older relatives.

We focus on friendship and encourage them to think about how they can be a better friend.

Spreading the happy involves giving compliments and saying thank you and supporting others too.

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Once children learn that their brain lights up /reacts in the same way when they give as when they receive they will realise it is always in their power to change their mood to the positive.

Happiness really is their superpower.

We can change the world

Being a child can feel pretty powerless sometimes and this can cause children to feel dispirited and frustrated.

Through Create Your Own Happy challenges, we encourage them to take care of the environment by making seed bombs and an insect hotel.

We encourage them to stare at the stars and experience powerful awe moments.

The book shares stories of the most amazing kids who have invented things to help others.

We encourage recycling by an exercise on making robots from junk. We also look at problem solving and embracing nature.

Children can indeed change the world.

Emotionally and spiritually, they get SO much from being engaged with the world in nurturing and celebrating it.

The tough stuff

We know it’s not always easy to always find a route to happiness and we don’t shy away from the tough stuff. We discuss how kids can stand up to bullying and which adults they trust to tell.

We encourage them to think about kids who are left out and how they can redress this. We also look at shyness and lack of confidence in speaking out.

We know kids need support with these areas – being safe online, finding their courage too – all these things can be barriers and challenges on the way to happiness.

So let’s teach children happiness boosting skills, address tricky issues, inspire them to make a difference and to be the strongest version of themselves.

You truly can impact your child‘s happiness by teaching them the impact they can have on their own happiness.

Your job is to be their role model and their guide. And do look after your own happiness – it is always contagious.


Create Your Own Happy is a modern, practical and fun activity book for 7-12 years olds written by Penny Alexander and Becky Goddard-Hill and published by Harper Collins. It is packed with creative activities designed to boost happiness and explore emotional wellbeing. Every activity has research backed explanations of how and why it works, because children, just like adults deserve to know why an activity is worthwhile and how it could change their mood. You can buy it here.