As parents we want to harness the power of positive parenting to help our children develop into happy, healthy, and responsible adults. If you want to be a Dolphin Parent* (see #10) and share The Happiness Advantage with your children, here are some suggestions for you.
“Advice is always easier when it doesn’t come from my parents…” Teacher and parents have found that Shawn’s quick-based 10 minute TED talk is accessible to most children. It’s a great way to introduce the topic without starting a lecture! Try the new TED-ed version to have additional resources, like an online quiz, you can do together.
“It takes big actions to make big changes. Or does it?…” Read our illustrated book Ripple’s Effect together and discuss small ways that you and your family can impact your world to create your own ripple effect.
“Who will smile first?” Visit our education page and download the Smile Experiment worksheet. Our speakers do this experiment all over the world–and you can gather your children and/or a few of their friends to see who will smile first. Use this as a basis to start a discussion on “mirror neurons” and creating happy feelings in ourselves and others.
“Keep your hands off the bubbles…” In our busy, technology-driven world, it is hard for us to calm or minds and just be still. Yet research shows this is one of ways to harness The Happiness Advantage. Try just sitting with your child(ren) and watching/listening to your breath for two minutes. If this proves too difficult, try blowing bubbles for your child(ren) to watch. Ask them to sit quietly as the bubbles fall, resisting the urge to touch or pop the bubbles, but instead to think about the sounds they hear as the bubbles move.
“I am so proud of all your hard work…” In our Happiness Advantage eCourses, we suggest praising the process, not the outcome. This habit will help children or employees–when we focus on effort, not outcome, we begin to understand that success is a result of intentional behavior. Science has shown that a belief in an internal locus of control results in more happiness; instilling the belief that his or her behavior matters is an important lesson for your child.
“I feel happy when….” We compiled several resources for happiness projects and ideas throughout the world. Perhaps your child would like to emulate Happy365 or Jump for Joy photo project and use photography to capture happiness. Or you can check out several aps and programs that help you journal your daily gratitudes (or keep it simple and ask everyone to share three things that they are happy about/grateful for each night at dinner or bedtime).
Print out this 8.5×11 gratitude sheet and put it in a plastic sleeve protector or laminate it. Share your gratitude each night at dinner, bedtime…and remember, kids like to see behavior modeled for them, so make sure you print a copy for yourself too!
Read any of these articles to learn how you can harness the playful spirit of a dolphin to enhance your parenting style.