How to raise a happy baby and child

How to raise a happy child

By Jill Storey

Like any parent who wants the best for her children, Trish Bragg has done everything she can to make sure Isabel, Madeline, and Charlie are healthy, have plenty of stimulating activities to fill their day, and are loved unconditionally. Yet, like many, she struggles with parenting’s million-dollar question: Are my kids happy? “Among all my friends, that’s what we want to know,” Bragg says.

What makes children happy may surprise you. Child development experts who study the subject say that happiness isn’t something you can give a child like a prettily wrapped present. In fact, says Edward Hallowell, psychiatrist and author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, over-indulged children — whether showered with toys or shielded from emotional discomfort — are more likely to grow into teenagers who are bored, cynical, and joyless. “The best predictors of happiness are internal, not external,” says Hallowell, who stresses the importance of helping kids develop a set of inner tools they can rely on throughout life.

The good news is you don’t have to be an expert in child psychology to impart the inner strength and wisdom it takes to weather life’s ups and downs. With patience and flexibility, any parent can lay the groundwork for a lifetime of happiness.

Click to read more about how to raise a happy baby, toddler, preschooler or big kid.

Related Links

• Bonding with your newborn
• Are children born happy?
• How to help your child develop social skills
• How to raise an emotionally intelligent child
• Raising great kids Age 2
• Raising great kids Age 5
• Raising great kids Ages 3 to 4
• Raising great kids Ages 6 to 8
• Ten ways to build your 2-year-old’s self-esteem Age 2
• Ten ways to build your child’s self-esteem Age 5
• Ten ways to build your child’s self-esteem Ages 6 to 8
• Ten ways to build your child’s self-esteem Ages 3 to 4

Bulletin Boards
• Playing and making friends
• Social and emotional development

• Do you worry about whether your child is happy?

See all BabyCenter resources on:
Emotional & Mental Health (Ages 2 to 4)
Emotional & Mental Health (Ages 5 to 8)
Your Baby’s Development
Your Toddler’s Development

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y Jill Storey

•  Learn to read the signs
•  Make room for fun
•  Help them develop their talents
•  Healthy bodies, happy children
•  Let them struggle with problems
•  Allow them to be sad or mad
•  Be a role model
•  Teach them to do meaningful things
•  The BabyCenter Seven: Ways to turn your child’s frown upside down


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