Child Care

Finding Happiness (adapted from an article in Family Fun magazine)

I just read an article that caught my eye.  The first sentence said, “What would bring true happiness to your household?”  The article goes on to say that according to research, lasting family happiness isn’t about momentous events or acquiring more things.  It’s about learning to savor life’s small pleasures – together.  My instant reaction to that statement was, “duh.”  It seems so obvious.  But, in thinking more about it, the difficulty is making the time and effort to take and enjoy those “small pleasures – together.”


Happiness is a goal worth seeking and it’s something over which we have a fair amount of control.  Happiness is not somewhere over the rainbow, as Dorothy discovered.  It’s right in your own backyard.  Now, if you ask a child what will make their family happier you’ll get the kinds of responses that Family Fun magazine did, when they did a happiness survey of nearly 300 families:

·         A real Pokemon.

·         A dolphin.

·         A sailboat that has a room in it.

·         All the Lego sets.

·         More hugs and kisses.

·         A library full of books (I vote for that one).

·         Dogs that pick up their own poop. (That breed of dog would sell out in no time!)


According to “experts” and the latest research, trying any or all of the following five things can result in upbeat kids and increased family joy.  In the process you will build stronger family bonds, which adds to the bliss.  “Close family relationships is a key predictor of overall happiness, according to Jeffrey Froh, PsyD, a psychology professor at Hofstra University and author.”


1.  Commit acts of kindness:  Declare a weekly “Three Good Deeds Day” where each person has to do a trio of thoughtful acts then discuss them at dinner; Keep a happiness fund and donate together to a favorite charity; volunteer together (check out for project ideas).


2.  Laugh out Loud – a LOT:  Yes, laughter really is the best medicine.


3.  Jump for Joy:  A recent study at the University of Michigan found that subjects who performed movements associated with joy – jumping, skipping, holding their shoulders open wide… - experienced a boost in mood.


4.  Unplug for a while.


5.  Go play outside.  In one study, even five minutes of what researchers call “green exercise” – physical activity in nature – was shown to boost mood and self-esteem in all age groups.

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