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9 Secrets for Raising Happy Children

 

happy children

Courtesy 0f Dr. Mercola at mercola.com:

 

1. Healthy Eating

Mood swings and even depression in kids are often the result of a heavily processed-food diet. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain! Your gut and brain actually work in tandem, each influencing the other.

This is why your child’s intestinal health can have such a profound influence on his mental health, and vice versa – and why eating processed foods that can harm his gut flora can have a profoundly negative impact on his mood, psychological health and behavior.

The simplest way back toward health and happiness, for children and adults alike, is to focus on WHOLE foods — foods that have not been processed or altered from their original state; food that has been grown or raised as nature intended, without the use of chemical additives, pesticides and fertilizers.

You, a family member, or someone you pay will need to invest time in the kitchen cooking fresh wholesome meals from these whole foods so that you can break free from the processed food diet that will ultimately make you and your children sick.

Food is a part of crucial lifestyle choices first learned at home, so you need to educate yourself about proper nutrition and the dangers of junk food and processed foods in order to change the food culture of your entire family.

To give your child the best start at life, and help instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime, you must lead by example. If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend reading my nutrition plan first. This will provide you with the foundation you need to start making healthy food choices for your family.

2. Eating on Time

If a child goes too long without eating, it may lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels that lead to irritability. Children need to refuel their growing bodies on a regular schedule, so try to keep your child’s meal and snack times consistent.

3. Regular, High-Quality Sleep

Too little sleep not only makes kids prone to being grouchy and having mood swings, it also negatively impacts children’s behavior and attention. In fact, as little as 27 minutes of extra sleep a night has been shown to have a positive impact on children’s mood and behavior.3

Children aged 5 to 12 need about 10-11 hours of sleep a night for optimal mood and health. To help your child get a good night’s sleep, get the TV, computer, video games and cell phone out of your child’s bedroom, and be sure the room is as dark as possible. Even the least bit of light in the room can disrupt your child’s internal clock and her pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. I recommend using blackout shades or drapes. For my complete recommendations and guidelines that can help you improve your child’s sleep, please see my article 33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep.

4. Free Play

Unstructured playtime is essential for kids to build their imagination, relieve stress and simply be kids. Yet today, many kids are so over-scheduled that they scarcely have time to eat dinner and do homework, let alone have any free time for play. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics states that free, unstructured play is essential for children to manage stress and become resilient, as well as reach social, emotional and cognitive development milestones.4

Along with slowing down and resisting the urge to sign your child up for too many activities, be sure to provide your child with simple toys like blocks and dolls that allow for creative play. Free play time is also an ideal time for active play – like tag or chasing butterflies – which is naturally mood-boosting (as exercise is for adults).

5. Express Emotions

Kids need to yell, cry, stomp their feet and run around with excitement. This is how they express their emotions, which is healthy for emotional development and will prevent a lifetime of internalizing negative emotions. Encourage and allow your child to vent and express his emotions in healthy ways.

6. Make Choices

Kids are constantly being told what to do, so giving them the ability to make choices goes a long way toward increasing their happiness. Try letting your child decide what to wear or what to eat (within reason), or give her a few choices for activities and let her decide which one to do.

7. They Feel Heard

Your child knows when you’re not really listening to them (such as if you’re ‘talking’ to them while surfing the Web or watching TV). Yet a child’s happiness will soar when he feels like his parents truly listen and respond to what he’s saying. Not only will you feel more connected to your child, but you’ll also build his self-confidence and happiness.

8. Unconditional Love

Above all else, children need unconditional love, and they need it consistently. If your child makes a mistake, let her know you still love and support her regardless. Your child will grow up confident and happy knowing you are behind her every step of the way.

9. Be Happy Yourself

If you’re stressed out and unhappy, your child will sense this and also feel sad and worried in response. You are your child’s first role model, so lead by example by embracing the bright side of life. If you need some help, use these 22 positive habits of happy people to become a happy person yourself.

 

 

Click on the link to read Brilliant Prank Photos Show Parenting at its Worst

Click on the link to read Little Girl’s Delightful “Brake Up” Note

Click on the link to read 9 Truths About Children and Dinnertime

Click on the link to read The Most Original Way to Pull Out Your Child’s Tooth Out (Video)

Click on the link to read Father Carries His Disabled Son 9 Miles to School Every Day

Click on the link to read Never Take the Dream out of the Child

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