Teach Kids How to Be Happy

We celebrated the New Year by performing at a NYE house concert hosted by my friend Gemma from Pearsall Podiatry. We raised $1000 for World Vision too! The kids helped by making raffle tickets, being bouncers at the door, and by singing to the crowd! I love that my kids have started off the new year helping others in need. It’s easy to take the good things in our lives for granted but when you help others less fortunate than you, it makes you realise how blessed you are!

We have a morning ritual where we play the gratitude game. We take turns to say what we are grateful for. On most days my three year old Elijah says ‘thank you for the power lines’. The older kids have been thankful for: ‘having a purpose in life, trees to give us oxygen, a car so we don’t have to walk everywhere, food, and health.’ If my kids complain I tell them in every situation they have two choices: to complain about what they lack, or to be grateful for what there is, and that being grateful will make them happy, and complaining will make them sad. I tell them it’s impossible to be ungrateful AND grateful at the same time so they need to choose what is best.

My kids made a wish list of things they would like to do in the holidays. Ash (10) wants to start her lip balm business, Kale (8) wants to master making candied fruit, and Jewel (5) merely wants to own a company! Jewel is growing veggies to sell at the market and occupies her time looking after her plants and thinking about other ways she could make money, including a nail polish station where kids pay her money to paint their nails! My goals include: saving for a deposit for an investment property, camping in Karijini, and visiting a Child Rescue centre in Cambodia! I’m looking forward to the year with excitement!

I warn my kids to be careful who they hang around because they will become like them. I tell them to choose friends who make them feel happy, and to be the friend they would like to have. Why would you spend most of your time with people who drag you down when there are so many nice people out there? Like the Boundaries book says, let the positive things in and keep the negative things out. It’s not mean, it’s protecting yourself and looking after your family.

Teach your kids how to forgive and keep themselves safe. I tell my kids that forgiveness is like this story about a girl called Daisy and her pet sheep dog Rover. One day Rover bit Daisy severely and she didn’t know why! Daisy chose to forgive Rover and whenever the scary thought of the bite came to mind, she would say to no one in particular ‘I hope Rover finds peace and happiness’. It was hard and at first she didn’t feel like she meant it but in time she meant every word. If Daisy spent her time thinking about how much the bite hurt, or telling everyone what a bad dog Rover was, or plotting revenge, she would not have the headspace to think about good things like helping people. Daisy’s dad put a fence up to separate Daisy’s play area from where Rover rounded up the sheep to keep Daisy safe. The scar from Rover’s bite reminded Daisy to stay away from Rover.

I often tell my kids my favourite proverb: ‘be careful what you think because your thoughts become your life’. There is no point in worrying about the future. It just gives you anxiety. Only spend time thinking about the good things you want in your life. What other people think about you doesn’t matter. It’s your thoughts that become your life, not theirs! Be present and enjoy now. I want my kids to have a happy year and that is why I’m teaching them to be present, grateful, forgive, have boundaries, help others, choose company wisely, and be careful what they think about. This way their minds will be free to think about all the good things they want to achieve and they can create the lives they deserve! Wishing you a Happy New Year!