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Guest author and technology guru Kyle Albert sent some interesting stats and tips on how to raise happy kids. Who could with argue with that goal?
Raising Happy Kids
The levels of day-to-day happiness, for some people is slowly decreasing, as we become more dependent on technology. Harris Interactive conducted a survey last April 2013, and it showed that 33% of American adults aren’t happy. Regina Corso, Harris Interactive’s Senior Vice President, said that “our happiness index offers insight into what’s on the minds of Americans today and is a reflection of the state of affairs in our county.” If happiness is indeed a state of mind, how can we raise happy and confident children in this Age of Information?
Do Shared Projects
Before, parents would usually do some sort of shared projects with their kids. It could be a flower pot, a LEGO building set, or even a tree house. Nowadays, kids already have their tablets and smartphones to keep them occupied. Since they’re more digitally-native than most adults, a tech project would definitely pick their interest. If you want your kid to learn more about how electronic devices work, you can start with the LightUp magnetic building blocks. From remote controls to nightlights, you and your kid will definitely enjoy doing these projects together. If you want to start your kids early in programming, Verizon Wireless recommends using apps like Kodable to make learning fun. Doing shared digital projects will definitely create stronger bonds between parent and child.
Enjoy All Forms of Play
Image courtesy of Marcin Banaszek
Some might think that play or playing is only for kids; it’s also a good form of relaxation for adults. Usually, we just let our kids play with their toys, tablets, or handheld gaming devices while we engage in our own “adult time”. However, in Stuart Brown, M.D’s book entitled “Play”, he stresses that play is all around us, and goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it’s missing. Engaging in different form of play with your kids gives you an opportunity to talk to them. It also reinforces your relationship, which creates a deeper form of intimacy with them. Basically, here are the three main forms of play that children can enjoy:
1. Parallel Play – playing alongside another child or their peers
2. Associative Play – playing with another child or a group of children
3. Solitary Play – playing alone and using age-appropriate toys or gadgets
Whatever type of play you want to encourage your child to try out, it’s important to guide them through it. Remember that play helps them build their confidence and develop their social skills.
It’s Okay to Lose Sometimes
Winning is the best feeling anyone could ever experience, but losing can also ruin our day. For most parents, especially the competitive ones, winning is everything. We’ve seen them running to the baseball field, screaming at their child after losing a game. These parents don’t realize that these kids might end up frustrated, impatient, and angry when they grow up. The best thing to do is to assure them that winning isn’t everything, and it’s okay to lose sometimes. Be patient with them and teach them slowly. Encourage them without pushing them too much. Once they learn to manage defeat and frustration, they’ll grow up to be happy adults.
Coach Them to Happiness
Parents will always be the first adult influences of children, and it’s an opportunity for them to establish their emotional stability. Since emotions are contagious, the first step in coaching them to happiness is to smile. When your kids see that you’re smiling, they’ll follow suit. In an article published on Parentables; kids smile at least 400 times a day, while adults only smile 20 times a day. Smiling actually stimulates the reward area of our brain, which is comparable to eating 2,000 bars of chocolate. It’s also good to bring your child to places which make them happy, and visit places that make you happy as well. Have fun together and better yet, laugh together when you’re at these places.
Always Unplug Before Retiring for the Night
The National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 study revealed that 63% of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep on weeknights. Since most of them are usually online an hour before going to bed, technology is affecting their sleeping habits. Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Charles Czeisler said that “invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported that they routinely get less sleep than they need.” Bottom line is to refrain from any screen time two hours before going to bed. Why not read them a bedtime story instead?
Raising kids is a balancing act and there’s no manual for it. As kids are getting more tech-savvy, we need to remind them that there’s life outside the digital world. We need to allow them to enjoy physical play, lose at soccer games, enjoy bed time stories, and build projects together. Let’s raise them to be happy kids, and future leaders of a smiling nation.
About the Author:
Kyle Albert, always interested in tablets, latest trends, startup businesses, fashion and design. He is also a keen social media user. Inclined to share and write about technology and how it can help people with their daily lives, how it can make things easier and for personal development as well, may it be for kids, adults, people in every walks of life. You may reach him at his Google+, Linkedin and Twitter.