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Make your kid's childhood a happy one
by Fiona Walker

We all want our children to be happy. That is our main aim. Everything we do for our children we do in the hope that it will help them become well-adjusted, sociable, capable and happy individuals.

Any parent will tell you this is not always easy, we often have to convince both our child and ourselves that those extra enrichment classes or tennis lessons will make it easier for him or her to succeed in life and therefore be happier in the long run! 

Are we providing the upbringing our children need to become happy, healthy members of society?

The most important thing your child needs to be a happy child is self-confidence.

Let your child know you love him for who he is and not what he does. By praising your child frequently, for both efforts and achievements you are helping her feel good about herself.

Remember to be specific about what he has done well, no matter how small it is, because then he knows how to do a good job the next time.

Childhood should be a time filled with curiosity and adventure. 

As adults we need to provide an environment where children can be themselves, explore and experiment. A confined space in which much is breakable, where there is nothing to touch and where there is little room to leap and wiggle about is really a hostile environment for young children.

Satisfying a sense of curiosity and adventure depends on risk-taking. For children to be comfortable to take risks they must be comfortable with making mistakes. Constant control and second -guessing by a parent, or grandparent can really make a child lose confidence.

A child who can delight in new experiences and is excited to learn new skills will gain far more from both school and any new learning experience than a child who shies away from anything new due to a fear of failure.

Nourishment is extremely important for everyone, but especially so for young growing bodies.

Have you ever noticed how cranky your child can be if they are hungry or have not eaten a nutritious meal in a few hours?

Too much sugar can lead to quite extreme mood swings in young children and affect their ability to concentrate and sleep. Children need well-balanced meals served regularly. Try to minimize sugar intake.

It is almost impossible to remove sugar from their diet and will certainly make them unhappy if they can’t enjoy birthday cake and treats along with their friends.

I try to reduce the amount of sugary party food my children eat by ensuring they have had a good meal before heading out to birthday parties so they are not too tempted by sugary or salty party food.

A regular schedule will provide set meal times and sleeping times and mean they do not get too hungry or tired.

Although we say children need freedom to explore and play, at the same time they need to be able to depend on a regular schedule which meets their physical needs and allows them to be able to predict what will happen next.

This ability to predict their day goes a long way in enabling children to feel confident and in control.

Built into this schedule there should also be unscheduled time. Time to daydream and star gaze; time to explore the world of their imagination. Children are too often rushed from one activity to another with little time to discover who they are and what they are capable of.

The most important factor that will predict whether or not your child is a happy boy or girl, enjoying the wonders of a carefree childhood, is how happy you are.

Don’t forget you are your child’s number one role model.

Do you take the time to laugh and play together? If you can share a sense of amazement and joy with your child, make them feel special and a part of a wonderful world that is waiting to be discovered, then you are doing a very good job of bringing up a happy child.


This article was contributed by Fiona Walker, Principal Director, Julia Gabriel Centre for Learning & Chiltern House.

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