Back to school tips for happy kids
Andy Cope is an expert of happiness and co-author of The Little Book of Emotional Intelligence: How to Flourish in a Crazy World. For more information see www.artofbrilliance.co.uk
Here are 7 of his brilliant back to school tips for happy kids ….
The 7-second hug
Everyone needs a hug sometimes, it helps your child feel safe and give them some reassurance. I started delving into the research behind this and then thought, sod it, nobody cares what the stats say. Here’s the headline news – the average hug lasts just over 2 seconds. If you hang on for a full 7 seconds then oodles of nice warm chemicals flow around both bodies and the love is transferred. One word of advice, don’t count out loud while you’re doing the 7-second hug as it tends to spoil the effect.
Monday is the new Friday
Here’s a terrifying fact for your child – a seventh of their year is going to consist of Mondays. That’s too much time to simply write off. So dare to stand out by celebrating the awesomeness of Mondays. Mondays are a chance for your children to get stuck into a new school week, learn something new and make a dent in the universe.
If your child is feeling a bit down, get everyone in your family to write a list of 10 things they really appreciate but take for granted. Then compare lists (top tip, make sure your partner is near the top of your list!)
Spookily enough, top of everyone’s list will be family and health. Kids will likely have wifi and PlayStation up there too. But the point is that too many people spend too much time moaning about what they haven’t got. Happy folk are much more grateful for what they have got. Look at your 10 things. #OMG, How lucky are you?
Praise for effort rather than talent
Teaching your child a good working ethos starts at school. The advice from positive psychology is that if your child accomplishes something, don’t say, ‘Well done, you are such a little genius!’ But rather, ‘Awesome, you put the effort in and got the reward.’
Here’s a concrete example. If your daughter does well in a mock maths exam don’t high-five, ‘Holy cow, total genius girl. You were born to do algebra.’ You’d be better off saying, ‘Amazing result. That’s what practice and hard work gets ya!’ and ruffle her hair in a chummy fashion.
The digital detox
The time you have together as a family is precious and finite, particularly after the holidays. Before you know it they are adults and have flown the nest, so make sure to turn off your electronic devices and spend more time with your real flesh and blood family. Happiness is a social thing.
The four minute rule
Practise the four minute rule. This is a phrase that came from a guru friend of mine, Steve McDermott, and I love its simplicity. Basically, your emotions are contagious. They leak out of you and ‘infect’ your family around you. So to help you family beat the back to school blues, make the conscious choice to be positive and upbeat, it takes four minutes for other family members to catch it too. So be enthusiastic for 4 minutes and everyone else will feel great too!
The gift of positivity
When you’re thinking of passing down your inheritance, be sure to remember that it’s not just a lump of cash and a bit of jewellery. You are passing down habits, knowledge, mind-sets and cognitive traits. Your positivity can set your child up for life!