We have all seen those faces: a child with an angry look – his face turned away from you, his lips pursed, his eyes glaring. Perhaps the child did not get what he wanted. Or, perhaps he woke up grouchy from a nap and saw no reason to change his demeanor or behavior and decided to take things out on you. Children can be taught from a young age how to become happy and not remain in a negative mood. According to Proverbs 15:13, a happy heart makes the face cheerful.
Helping your children develop happy hearts depends first and foremost on you having a happy heart yourself. It is critical that as Christians, adults memorize scripture so that we lean on what the Bible has to say about our circumstances rather than on what the world throws at us. The Word of God can be an extremely positive force in our lives if we speak and apply it.
Try selecting various Bible verses that are easy for your children to memorize and write them on index cards or type them and hang them up throughout your house. There are many websites that have lists of simple Bible verses so you can select one verse each week on which to focus. Make it fun to memorize a verse and incorporate it in your everyday discussions. The more you make the verses a part of their everyday lives, the more these verses will become a part of their thinking and behavior. A quick reading of a verse will not do it. It takes time and energy to change thoughts and behavior – it is not a one time, quick fix.
Also, have your children look at themselves in a mirror when they are happy and then when they are angry. Help them to connect their facial expressions and outward physical behavior to their feelings. Smiling is an indication of happiness and actually makes a person more attractive. More people are drawn to smiling, friendly persons and the opposite is true as well. Remember that your children typically will copy your behaviors. Have you smiled at your children lately or have they seen you smiling? You cannot expect your children to smile if you are not smiling at or with them!
Laughter is very important in maintaining a happy heart. Children love to laugh – it’s part of their nature. My sons enjoyed all kinds of silly jokes and riddles from when they were both small. I bought joke books and cartoon books for them to read, to encourage laughter. (Of course, that also encouraged reading.) They both have a wonderful, positive sense of humor today! Another way to make them laugh is spending time with them doing fun activities. When was the last time that you played with and tickled your child?
These are some practical suggestions to raising happy children. I encourage you to take the time to implement some so that you see more cheerful faces around your home!