Sunday August 24 2014

Practical ways to keep children happy

Children feel happy when they are  left to play with their age mates.

Children feel happy when they are left to play with their age mates. courtesy photo 

Keeping a smile on a child’s face especially when one has had a bad day can be a challenge. Despite a long day, a child expects a parent to play with them or do something that will make then happy. Harriet Namulindwa Ssango, a mother says, keeping children happy does not only entail providing what they want but also spending good time with them.

Pay attention
“When I’m with my children, I ask them what they would like to eat. What one wants in most cases differs from the other. After understanding what they all want, I give it to them but I also make sure that I provide whatever each of them wants,” says Namulindwa.

Be there for them
David Kavuma, a counselling psychologist at Kyambogo University says parents have to appreciate that childhood determines adulthood and that whatever a parent does with a child has a significant impact on the child’s life. “A parent needs to be with the child because they will understand their likes and dislikes. There has to be a line drawn between parenting and work to keep the children happy,” he explains.

Play with them
He adds that while it is important for parents to provide appropriate play material for children, sparing time to play with them to develop interpersonal skills is also necessary. “Play is what makes part of a child’s life happy,” Kavuma adds.
He further notes that parents should make home a friendly place and avail themselves to children regardless of their work demands.

Don’t fight before children
a family is a system. “If one member of a family is not happy, all the other people in that family won’t also be happy because,” Kavuma explains. Parents should try as much as possible to avoid resolving conflicts in front of their children as they are curious and will be affected.

Tell them ‘I love you’
Amanda Asiimwe, a mother says , letting children know that you love them is one way of keeping a smile on their faces. She adds that, “As parents, we need to listen to children and what they have to say because by so doing, it pictures that you care for them.
Parents need not to dictate on things that may bring discomfort to their children, but rather bring them happiness.” She adds that encouraging and being supportive of what children do keeps them happy because they also feel motivated to aim at the best.

Keep a good relationship
Kambere Kabagambe, a businessman says the key to a child’s happiness is when parents keep a good relationship with their children from the time they are young till when they are old. “When you spend time with children, young and old, and let them understand the merits and demerits of some things, they feel loved and cared for. At the end of the day, this protectiveness keeps them happy, which is what I do with my own children,” says Kabagambe. According to a study published in August 2011 in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, it turns out that some kids, especially those with trouble regulating their emotions, might need a little extra help from Mom or Dad.

Quick tips
Among the tips that can be done to keep children happy include joking with children to set them up for social success, being positive as it eases problems in the long run, fostering self-compassion as it helps keep someone stay resilient in face of challenges, letting go of a child’s results especially bad grades, nurturing a couple’s marriage, tending to a parent’s mental health for the good of the parents and the children, keeping close relationships with children as it keeps them from acting out, not aiming for perfection especially with parenting and taking time to know children.