10 Tips for Teaching Kids to be Happy

It is important to keep a healthy sense of humor and find ways to teach our children to seek happiness. Life can be crazy and feeling happy isn’t always easy – or even possible, but it’s worth giving it our best shot. I understand that we can’t laugh at everything, but keeping a light heart whenever possible, helps us to see things more clearly.



I’ve always believed in seeking happiness, and I have learned a few things to help me out along the way. I try to share these ideas with my children on a regular basis, so they can have the tools they will need as they grow into adulthood.

1. Write down your BIG 10: I always keep a notepad in my bedside table. Written on it are my top 10 things that make me happy. They have stayed mostly the same over the past – almost twenty years as a mother, but some have shifted a bit. The point is, whenever I’m having a bad day, I pull out my big 10 and pick a few to tackle my mood. Sometimes it takes one of them, and other times I have to use them all, to adjust my bad attitude. For instance, I may go exercise with a friend while listening to music in the mountains, take pictures and then write about it when I get home!

2. Sit down and think really hard about some positive things you can find about yourself. If you are having a hard time, invite a friend or family member to help you. Each morning, repeat them to yourself while getting ready – instead of listing all of the physical flaws you find in the mirror. Have your kids do the same and talk to them about why this is important.

3. Surround yourself with happy things. It always helps to have pictures of people you love, around your home. Decorate with colors that boost your mood, quotes that lift your spirits, or  play music that lightens your day. We can control these things ahead of time, so that when we don’t feel so great – we are living in the midst of happy things.

4. Make it a habit to point out all of the beautiful things around you. Your kids will learn to appreciate the things that bring beauty into their lives, each day. The mountains, sunset, or birds could be the thing that changes their attitude. I actually didn’t realize how much I did this until all of my kids began doing it. Their comments as we drove in the car or walked outside sounded like I was listening to myself on a recording.

5. Talk about people in a positive light. If your kids hear the good about people, they will notice the good in others, too. Of course, there are people that drive us crazy – but if we spend time talking about the strengths in the people we care about and not the things we hate about some random person in our neighborhood, our kids will too. Honestly, as my kids have been raised with a ‘no gossip’ rule in our house, they aren’t used to hearing it, and they struggle at school because a lot of kids thrive on gossip and my kids can’t stand it.

6. Find reasons to laugh and be silly and find time to do things that you love. Maybe it’s a pillow fight or a dance party in the kitchen. Why not sing a song really loud in the car with the kids? If they see you taking the time to have fun, they will enjoy spending quality time with you AND listen to you more intently when you have something serious to discuss. I’m continually amazed at the topics my kids feel comfortable bringing up. I have no doubt it’s because we have built a friendship –  along with a parent/child relationship.

7. Be open with your kids. Let them see you struggle, and watch how you cope. If they get a first hand view of parents feeling upset about something, face it the best we can, make it through – AND become happy again, they won’t feel like something is wrong with them as they grow up and find themselves mad or frustrated with things. They will know that happiness is just around the corner.

8. Don’t make your kids feel bad for having feelings. It’s okay to feel mad, sad, or annoyed. Explain to them that these feelings are normal and even healthy. If we listen to our feelings and try to figure out where they came from in the first place, we will be able to take action and work on the cause. After your child is mad or has some sort of hormonal breakdown, talk to them. Wait until their emotions calm down a bit and then problem solve together. I have a friend that sells some really amazing books for kids about dealing with their hard feelings. Find them HERE and HERE. They are inexpensive and so valuable! She plans on writing many more, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.

9. Bite the bullet and buy a dog. I hate to say it but pets can help kids when they are having a really hard day. Sometimes they won’t relate with mom, or dad, or anyone else and they just need to snuggle with a neutral fuzzy and slobbery friend. Animals can’t talk, and that is a good thing! Sometimes we talk too much, when all we should do is snuggle.

10. Keep a gratitude journal. Try to write down things that you are grateful for each day, and it will be a lot harder to stay in a bad mood. Our perspectives come from comparison. If we take our eyes off of ourselves, serve others and write down what we are grateful for – it will be the cheapest therapy we can buy.

I write these things because they have worked for me. I’d love to hear what things work for you! Send me an email or comment below if you’d like to add to my list.



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  • Argh, #9, you kill me! I know having a pet is good for kids on pretty much every level there is, but I want to resist pet ownership! The housetraining and the feeding and the chewed furniture – it’s like another baby (and I’d rather have another baby than a dog, to be honest.)

    Great list, and I’ll think about the dog.ReplyCancel


MyMommyStyle Meet Camille

Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you're here you'll find something that makes your #momlife easier!


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