Saturday 12 March 2016

How to raise a happy child

Disclaimer: Before I begin I just want to say that this article is about your typical, run of the mill type families. And every advice about children is not suited to every family. Take what you think is good from this post and leave the bad behind.

There are a lot of articles, studies and whatnot on the internet that tell you how to raise happy children. What is good fort heir mental, physical and psychological growth and what can put them in harm's way. I read a lot, and I mean "A LOT" about this stuff when I was pregnant with my first child. Armed with all this knowledge I thought I was well equipped to raise a happy, little boy. But, boy, was I wrong. You see real life is nothing like what you find in these articles and researches. Once in a while, life throws you a curve-ball and no amount of google searches is going to help you with finding the solution. So, where does the answer lie? It's is so easy that it's ridiculous. It lies within you, the mother. Trust your instinct about your children and you'll never go wrong!

I am grateful that I discovered this early and since then it has been an exceptionally easy ride. There were some bumps along the way but I am happy to say that so far my kids are the happiest I have known. Masha'Allah! I will just like to give some pointers to new moms and even experienced ones (if they want). So let's begin!

1.Trust your instinct

As I said before it is very important to trust your maternal instinct. If you feel something is wrong with your kid, even though the rest of the world disagrees, follow up on it. Even when you are pregnant do what your instinct tells you. But that in no way means that you shouldn't listen to your doctor. See, there is a fine line that needs to be toed with caution. I have learned that listening to everyone will make you go insane with worry. So, just talk about your concerns with your doctor and 1 or 2 other people that you trust.

I remember the first time I was pregnant I was bombarded with advice, some of which was not very good, some downright scary. One person told me to stop doing any kind of housework or I will surely lose my unborn child. I was scared out of my mind with worry! A long discussion with my midwife followed and thankfully she put all my fears to rest. She did give me one advice that I still follow. She told me to "limit my contact with these kind of people and trust my instinct"

Photo credit: via Visualhunt / CC BY-ND

2. Physical contact

I can not put enough emphasis on this. Our kids need our time and our undivided attention. They are young, they don't understand why they need to sit in their pushchair when we go out or sleep alone at night. A little baby needs physical contact, needs your love. I carried my son in a baby carrier till he was around 9 months old. We both enjoyed that time. He could look up and see that mommy was close by and I could kiss his tiny little nose whenever I wanted. I wouldn't trade that time for anything in the world. But ofcourse as I said before everything does not work for everyone. So if you are more comfortable with having your baby in a pushchair then you definitely should, regardless of what other peope think!

I loved co-sleeping with my baby. I could not bring up my courage and put him into a crib for the night. Also as I was breastfeeding it was much easier for the both of us that he slept in my bed. My sister however, put he son into the crib from the first day and that arrangement work quite well for them. So really it is upto you to find an arrangement that suits you.

Photo via

3. Take out time for them

Always try to give your children your undivided attention. Take them out, play with them, feed them, find something you can do with them. In short have fun with them. You'll give them some very precious memories. I am a stay-at-home mom but even I used to find this a little difficult until I made a few adjustments to my daily schedule. I put away my phone, turn off the tv and my laptop and do something with my 2 year old that we both enjoy. Today it was Lego's and colouring. I don't know who enjoyed it more. One time I looked up from my colouring and saw that he had already moved on to something else. All in all, 2 hours well spent.

4. Let them make a mess

My husband is a very tidy man, he doesn't like a mess. So what I do is that I let my son make a huge mess around the house all day and one hour before daddy comes home we both clean it up. I have seen that it has taught him two things: you always clean up after you play and it is exciting to wait for daddy to come home. He always puts the toys back even when we are at the doctor's office. Makes me so proud*sniff*
Today I gave him a free reign over everything. He didnt have to take a  nap if he didn't want to. He could have chocolate, he could watch as many poems as he wanted and make a huge mess which he did, but boy, did he have fun! His eyes lit up when he saw that I wasn't going to stop him from anything today.

Photo credit: gabi_menashe via / CC BY

5. Encourage and appreciate them

Value their choices, decisions and opinions. Never tell your child that his idea is stupid. Kids are so sensitive and always on the lookout for our approval. Things like these hurt them and there will come a time when they will stop coming to you and find someone who encourages them. And you don't want to find them wanting someone else's approval than yours. Your kid made a drawing and you have no idea what that is, just say "wow, you did a great job! Now tell me the story behind it"

My son loves jumping on the couch and he wants me to watch him do it because he just learned how to jump. So, even if I don't want to I have to. I don't want to hurt his feelings and if my watching him makes him happy so be it. So I make all the appropriate faces and sounds while he does that.

6. Be nice to your spouse

Be nice, not only in front of the kids but otherwise too. Kids are sensitive beings, they pick up on these things and nobody wants their kids to feel that way. It teaches them kindness and acceptance. I know, sometimes your husband might get on your nerves or you might not agree with him but keep these reactions away from the kids. No kids like taking sides during a conflict between parents. Both parents are equally important to them and they have the same love for both of you. Never drag them into these fights or disagreements. And neve ever bad-mouth your spouse in front of you kids. You might think that you'll turn them against your spouse but you will be losing your respect in this process. Remember that even though you have a few grievances with your spouse, you both love your kids equally.

Photo credit: pareeerica via / CC BY-NC-SA

6. Don't take out your stress on your kids

Had a bad day at work? The traffic was bad? The weather was too hot/too cold? You didnt have lunch at work and now you are hungry but there is nothing to eat? You had a disagreement with someone? Leave all this at the front door.Your kids have been waiting to see you all day and they sure wouldn't appreciate if the front door opens and The Grinch walks in.

This is just part 1. I will follow up on it soon. This is a  never ending discussion that grows as your child grows. But always remember to be ready with your arms wide open for your kids. Give out kisses often, this phase passes too soon. Tell them you love them and be open with you feelings. These tiny humans live for our love and approval and it is not too much to ask for a happy childhood.

Till next time! Have fun!