4 Parenting Tips for Raising Happier Kids

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Parenting tips focused on raising happier kids. Implementing them will help your family have happy, healthy and positive attitudes at home and at school.

Parenting tips focused on raising happier kids. Implementing them will help your family have happy, healthy and positive attitudes at home and at school.

Photo: Ned Horton

Only three out of every ten Americans will make resolutions this New Year and only about half of those people will actually keep them.  Maybe these numbers are so dismal because we make resolutions that are at times too difficult to keep. My goal this year is to make resolutions that help my kids grow in all areas of their lives. I want 2014 to be the year that my family has a healthy and positive attitude about school, friends, family and everything in between.  Below are some ideas for resolutions that can help your family feel great this year!

1.) Step up the Communication.

Family life has become so hectic that sometimes a little family communication is all you need to calm things down.  Pick one night per week to hold a family meeting.  This can be done over dinner or a board game. Whatever you choose, be sure to make your meetings a priority. Use this time to discuss problems, good things that happened during the week or to make plans to improve something.

If your family cannot agree on a time, try a communication journal.  Buy a special notebook for each child and use it to write private notes to her. Express to your child all of the things that you love about him. You can use the journal to tell her when her behavior needs improving and how it makes you feel.  Be sure to keep these journals private. Your kids will have a means of communication for even the most difficult subjects.

2.) Get academics on track.

With the school year in full swing, you should have a pretty good idea of where your child’s strengths and weaknesses are. It might be a good idea to send your child’s teacher an email just to make sure that everything is ok. Find out in which academic areas your child is showing success and make a big deal about them at home.  If there are areas of trouble, ask your child’s teacher for ways to help at home.  Extra reading time or math work might be needed to boost confidence.  Remember to make any extra work fun.  Start a family book club or challenge your kids to an online math game.

3.) Make time for friends.

With everything families have on their plates these days, scheduling play dates is the last thing on our minds.  Some of my fondest memories from childhood involve endless hours riding my bike with the neighborhood kids.  This year, I want to give my kids the opportunity to make those same memories. Try to free up at least one day per week to devote entirely to play dates. Resist the urge to over plan the experience. Kids benefit most from unstructured free time with peers.

4.) Re-evaluate your kids’ extra-curricular activities.  

Most parents are guilty of over scheduling activities. We want to expose our kids to everything the world has to offer. Being involved in sports and other after school activities have huge benefits for children, just make sure that they are not overdoing it. Make a list of all of the activities that your child participates in and have him prioritize each one.  Get a clear picture of which activities are most important to your kids. If you are feeling overwhelmed, maybe you should consider giving up an activity that your child is not enjoying.

The same goes for sports teams. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend organized sports until the age of six and doctors are seeing more injuries attributed to overuse.  My pediatrician recommends one sport per season. The goal for kids should always be to develop a positive attitude towards physical fitness.

Whether you decide to make resolutions or not, I hope that 2014 is a year that brings you and your family health and happiness.  We would love to know what resolutions you make with your family.  Please share your ideas below.

Happy New Year!
Anne Davis

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