If you want your kids to be happy in life, teach them these 9 habits early on

Few parents don’t want their kids to get ahead. 

They in fact go to sleep every night crossing their fingers and praying for the success of their children.

But do they set them up for that happiness?

Or do they just throw them off the deep end and hope for the best?

The old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” applies pretty well to kids as well, as it turns out.

And happiness.

Because if you’re not setting your kids up with the right habits and are just expecting them to learn how to be happy, you’re missing out on laying the entire groundwork for a lifetime of joy. 

So hold on to your parenting hats as we dive into the 9 most important habits that set kids up to find and maintain their own, healthy happiness:

1) Being thankful

We often take the little things in life for granted. 

And for children of today’s world, many of whom are drowning in toys and notifications and screens, it’s more important than ever that we teach our kids the habit of acknowledging and appreciating what they have.

That’s what they have outside of the internet, too.

So teach them the art of practicing gratitude. Of taking time out each day to be thankful for their agile bodies and learning minds. For the food at the table and roof over their heads. For the sweet treat cookie they get for being good.

Gratitude can be listing things, or saying a simple “thank you” to someone to voice that appreciation. Find what works best for them, and instill the importance of seeing all the good in the world.

2) Getting back up after failure

Life can throw many curveballs, and it’s not always easy to hit a home run every time. That’s why it’s crucial to teach our children resilience. 

Sure, they’ll fall. They might scuff a knee or too or wound their pride. 

But mollycoddling and wrapping them up in bubble wrap only works so far.

What’s better is you teach them the art of resilience. Of feeling the sting of the fall and allowing the emotions to sift through them, but of picking themselves back up and being determined to try again.

This determined habit will not only help them overcome hardships in life but also enable them to find happiness in the face of adversity.

3) Boredom isn’t boring

In a world saturated with technology, entertainment, and constant stimulation, it might seem strange to suggest that we teach our kids to be bored. 

“I was NEVER bored when I was your age”, my mother’s trite voice rings in my ear.

I get bored, even now. But the funny thing is that boredom sparks creativity. It gives children (and adults) the space to think, imagine, and innovate. 

So, instead of teaching them to fear boredom and fill every moment with activities or screen time, allow them to have periods of nothingness. 

This habit can lead to self-discovery, personal growth, and ultimately, a deeper sense of happiness.

4) Getting active is important

Physical activity is important, and the earlier children learn this, the better they’re set up for life. 

Being active isn’t just about maintaining a healthy body and looking good, either – it’s intrinsically linked to our mental wellbeing

So try and encourage your children to engage in some form of physical activity every day; be it teamsports, extracurricular sports like dance or bouldering, or even a simple walk in the park. 

Get involved too, and benefit from both bonding as well as getting your own sweat on!

Regular exercise releases endorphins, often known as the “feel-good hormones”, which can boost mood and foster a sense of happiness

Plus, you’re also teaching your children a great way for them to blow off steam and cope with stress.

If you want your kids to be happy in life teach them these habits early on 1 If you want your kids to be happy in life, teach them these 9 habits early on

5) Importance of social connections

As humans, we are hardwired to connect with others. Strong, healthy relationships can significantly contribute to our overall happiness. 

So, teach your children the value of building and maintaining good friendships and you’re setting them up for a lifetime of healthy relationships

Encourage them to be kind, empathetic, and respectful in their interactions with others. 

In addition to this, let them understand the importance of being a good listener. Explain the importance of patience in conversation, in not interrupting nor talking over the speaker, and all the aspects of active listening.

These key social skills will help them form deep connections and enhance their emotional wellbeing.

6) Healthy and balanced diet

What we put in our bodies directly impacts how we feel. 

Encouraging your children to have a balanced and nutritious diet can significantly boost their mood. 

That doesn’t mean naysaying every sweet snack, ever. Nor raising them hardcore vegan/paleo/keto, and then fretting furiously whenever they go off to sleepovers and come back having ravaged burgers/sweets/carbs.

Keep it simple and aim for moderation. Don’t exhaust yourself trying to cook up freshwater halibut, steaming quinoa, lightly sauteed greens for toddlers who wouldn’t fuss over easy meals, either.

But try to teach them the importance of a diet that incorporates all colors of the rainbow coupled with hydration, and how these elements can help maintain energy levels and prevent mood swings.

7) Cultivate kindness

In a world that tells you that you can be anything, why not be kind?

Tell your children this. That they should reach for the stars, but remember to be kind and compassionate on their journey to get there.

Acts of kindness, no matter how small, warm our hearts and fill us with joy. The sooner you acknowledge and praise kindness demonstrated by your children, the better you’re setting them up for a lifetime of healthy give and take in their social interactions. 

This habit of kindness can lead to increased self-esteem, empathy, and a more positive outlook on life, paving the way for lasting happiness.

8) Teach them to let go

Not everything in life will go according to plan. 

Just as they stumble and fall, there will be times when picking themselves back up isn’t so easy.

There will be disappointments, missed opportunities, and people who let us down. 

This is why it’s essential to teach our children that it’s okay to let go – of grudges, of regrets, of things they cannot change. 

Holding onto negativity only weighs us down. 

But, by learning to let go, you’re showing them that they can make room for new experiences, positivity, and ultimately, happiness.

9) Self-expression

Finally, every child is unique, as is every family they are raised in.  Hence why parenting never comes in a one-size-fits-all format.

Trying to force a child into a box will only lead to repressed feelings and resentments.

So, to avoid this, encourage your kids to express themselves openly and honestly; whether through words, art, music or other forms of creative expression. 

Let them know that their voice matters and their feelings are valid. 

Children who are confident enough to pursue their chosen path as well as comfortable enough to voice the emotions they’re feeling will be well on the path to building their own happiness. 

Picture of Liv Walde

Liv Walde

London-based writer with big thoughts, big dreams, and a passion for helping others.

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