Russian writer Leo Tolstoy was right, happy families share many common traits. Here are secrets to making your family life happier.
Happy Family Secret #1: Put the family before friends. Put the marriage before kids.
Children need structure, but they need fun, too. When children aren’t finding joy in the family they will seek it from friends who can become more important to them than family. Of course friendship is important but family togetherness is more important. However, there are families where the kids always come first, but in successful families the marriage and connection between husband and wife is a priority. It sets an example for your kids of a loving relationship.
Happy Family Secret #2: Limit children’s after school activities.
“Today, growing numbers of kids are overscheduled and participate in six or seven after-school activities per week,” says WebMD. “The mother becomes a chauffeur and the children are never home at the same time. This is not a recipe for a happy family; create your own after-school activities as a family.”
Happy Family Secret #3: Communicate.
In a happy family there are open lines of communication where every member can freely express their opinion while respecting the views of the other family members. Dr. David Niven in his book 100 Simple Secrets of Happy Families, writes that scientific studies have shown that “the less open the communication between adults and children, the more pessimistic the children are likely to be and the less likely the children are to feel secure in their family relationship. This is nearly doubly as significant in stepparent-children relationships.”
Happy Family Secret #4: Let grandma play a key role in your family life.
Sixty-six scientific studies have shown that moms who have childcare help from their mother or mother-in-law have less tension in their lives and the children are better adjusted, as well. And another plus—grandparents live longer, too, when they have an active role in their grandchildren’s lives.
Happy Family Secret #5: Eat dinner together and put down the phones.
It’s simple: families that share conversations over meals are closer and happier. One way to break the ice at dinner is to play the “bad and good game”. Have each member of the family talk about a positive and negative from their day. This way parents can help their children navigate through life’s emotional journeys.
Happy Family Secret #6: Share your family history.
“Researchers in Georgia have found that children who know more about their parents, grandparents, and other relatives - both their ups and their downs - have higher self-esteem and greater confidence to confront their own challenges,” Bruce Feller reports in the HuffPost.