Foster Happiness in Your Child

Meet our Chipper Ambassador, Yewon Ahn!

As summer winds down we feel the energy of kids everywhere winding up for school. It’s at this time that we say goodbye to our summer interns. This summer we welcomed students from the local highschool and, again, felt so impressed by the level of enthusiasm to learn and contribute …be it writing, researching …or creating a new craft!
We were so pleased to meet and work with Redwood Highschool senior Yewon Ahn and learn about her childhood. Now it’s time for Yewon to go back to school and prepare for college applications. We are sad to say goodbye, but we wish her much success and look forward to hearing about her college choice in the spring!
Make the end of your Summer a happy one! As you transition your children back into the school year remember to discuss the positive moments school activities bring to all of us like meeting new friends, sharing a locker, or going on field trips. Any anxiety about school should be acknowledged but help your child redirect their mindset with positive thoughts. What is your favorite memory about school?
Yewon shares her story about school and growing up in America. Enjoy!

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Hello, I’m Yewon. I am about to be a senior in high school and it’s been about 12 years since I moved to America from South Korea. It’s pretty crazy to think that I had to adjust to a whole new life at the age of 5. It’s always been that way, I’ve always had to adjust to new things. I had to adjust to a typical American kindergarten classroom setting. I had to adjust to a whole new language and also adjust to being one of the only two girls who couldn’t speak english in my class. Being so young, it was pretty easy to feel lonely and out of place. However, I was able to maintain a state of happiness and because of that, I feel as though I was able to adjust much faster and much easier.

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Young kids should always feel happy. It’s a part of childhood, a part of what makes youth so amazing and pure. There are no worries, and your focus is solely to be playing, eating and sleeping. Luckily, my parents knew how to keep me happy despite the huge changes occurring in my young life. I really believe that my happiness is what helped me integrate myself into this new life so easily and quickly.

Whether you and your child(ren) have moved from an entire different county or lived in the same city your entire life, happiness is very important. With the growing number of depression diagnoses in young people, it’s essential that you foster happiness within your child as early as you can. With that being said, here are some tips that were very successful in keeping me happy as I adjusted to my new life.

Help your kids be happy, they’ll thank you later!

Spend Quality Family Time

Taking some time to be with your family is so important for your child. At this point in their lives, their closest friends are their parents. Family is who they’re comfortable with. Don’t use “We’re at home together all the time!” as an excuse for “family time.” Let your children know that they are more important than your work. Of course, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance between “too much” and “not enough” family time. If you seem to fall under “not enough,” take your kids to the beach or the zoo! Read a book together. If time and budget allows, go on a family trip!

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This Huffington Post article discusses a number of health benefits gained from spending family time together, such as lowering stress and healthier eating habits! Utilize this time when your children don’t have copious amounts of homework and extracurricular activities on their plates. As they grow older, they will have less and less free time to spend. Not only will spending some quality family time harbor happiness, but it will also teach them that family is a valuable thing. It can even start with family meals. You know what they say, “Families that eat together, stay together!”

Encourage Children to use Helping Hands

There is joy in contributing! Whether it be a big or small deed, your child will develop a sense of accomplishment and confidence that will ultimately build their happiness. A small act of wiping the table before dinner can change their moods. You asked them to do something, which represents a small challenge. As they do their job, it’s a perfect opportunity to offer them words of encouragement. When they are able to accomplish the challenge and you acknowledge them, they grow a sense of confidence. An encouraged and confident child is a happy child. Our Chipper Helping Hands Kit is the perfect tool to positively reinforce good behavior and a helpful spirit!

You can take it to the next level and see if they’re willing to donate any of their old or unused things to a nearby thrift store. Talk with them about the importance of donating their old stuff they don’t use so that other children will be able to benefit from them. Help them to make positive differences in the world, even if they’re small or big, so that they can enjoy and learn from these experiences. Taking them to go volunteering is a great opportunity to do so. According to this CNN article, young children find more joy in giving than receiving. Children are more altruistic than they seem!

Establish Friendships Early

Aside from family time, it’s also important that your kids spend time with kids their own age. This tip is so important in building long term happiness! I have a friend that I made when I first moved here, and we got close because our parents also became friends. We often had playdates and during these times I developed social skills and how to communicate. It made me happy everytime I got to see her because I knew I would have fun with her no matter what.

IMG_1818Emphasizing the importance of friendship will also help your kid to understand the value of being nice and it’s the perfect time to teach them the Golden Rule: “Treat others how you want to be treated!” Developing a friendship early will most likely allow them to continue being friends as they’re older, and it’s so nice having a friend who understands you because they grew up with you and vice versa. Certain times, there will be some things that your kid might not be able to say to you, but they will be able to say to their friend. That one friend mentioned before, I still talk to often and we have reunions a few days a year, because she moved far away. We still talk and catch up every time as if we’ve never been away. I still consider her to be one of my closest friends. Of course there are plenty of opportunities to make new and different friends further on, but there’s something special about those few childhood friends that you grew up with.

Develop Positive Attitudes

Of course, the key to happiness is your attitude. Having a positive one will really attribute to happiness. There are some people that choose to see the negative side to every situation. Those people are usually not happy and fun people to be around. On the other hand, the kid with the positive attitude who always sees the good in everything is the kid everyone wants to be around.

Not only is this important when you’re young, but when you’re older too. No one wants to be a grumpy adult. This article even mentions that children’s moods change for the better even when they’re just around positive, happy adults. So, teach your kids to think positively. When they’re going through a tough time, ask them, “How can you look on the bright side?” And remind them that any mistake is a lesson learned. Try the “I’m Chipper For…” Exercise with your family to set a positive attitude!

Give Them Choices

Kids don’t have a lot of say over what happens in their lives. But one secret to happy kids is that they have choices. Don’t dictate everything your kids do. Let them choose what they want once in a while. It can be as simple as asking them what they want for dinner once a week. Let them choose their own clothes. Let them play freely with their wild imaginations and without instructions. Ask them which extracurricular activities they want to try. Giving them choices will also help cultivate independence. This site goes into more depth about all the benefits that offering your kids choices will lead to. Give them freedom and taste of responsibility. A little goes a long way!

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Happiness is such an essential part of childhood. Help your kids reach their maximum happiness potential. You’ll love yourself for it, and your kids will love you for it. These tips definitely kept me a happy child. Not only a happy child, but I still consider myself to be a happy person. Now you can do the same for your kids. Thanks mom and dad!

Need some extra support for transitioning your kids back to school? Check out our Back To School Kit full of activities, tips and products to help

Share your Happiness Tips with us in the comments below!

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