Keeping the family happy

Happiness is finding a pencil.
Sleeping in moon light.
Telling the time.
Happiness is learning to whistle.
Tying your shoe
For the very first time.
Happiness is playing the drum
In your own school band.
And happiness is walking hand in hand.

Happiness is two kinds of ice cream.
Knowing a secret.
Climbing a tree.
Happiness is five different crayons.
Catching a firefly.
Setting him free.
And happiness is being alone every now and then.
And happiness is coming home again.

Happiness is morning and evening,
Daytime and nighttime too.
For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That's loved by you.

Happiness is having a sister.
Sharing a sandwich.
Getting along.
Happiness is singing together
When day is through,
And happiness is those who sing with you.

Happiness is morning and evening,
Daytime and nighttime too.
For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That's loved by you.

I've always loved the Happiness song from You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. It's easy to find happiness in the simple things, especially if you know where and how to look. We're a generally happy family -- fortunately, I happen to love everyone in my family so it's not too hard to be happy with them. Sure, we have our little spats now and then (or, in the case of The Pea and her brothers, every 5 minutes, or so it seems!) but if you asked any member of my family, I think they'd say they are happy.

Today, Farm Rich and Social Moms are asking the question, How Do You Keep Your Family Happy? Of course, family happiness is not my sole responsibility -- that's a family job -- and there's really no way I can force anyone to be happy, but there are certain things we parents can do to set the stage. Here are some things I try to do to make sure everything runs smoothly and everyone is happy:

1) Stick to a schedule
I've said it once, and I'll say it again, kids do best when there is structure in their lives. They like to know the boundaries of their world, what they can do, what they cannot do, when they can do it.

2) ... But don't overschedule
Having too many activities just makes everyone stressed out!

3) Make sure everyone gets enough sleep
There's nothing like lack of sleep to get us all sniping and snarling at each other.

4) Keep everyone well fed.
Again, it's easier to feel happy on a full stomach :) I try to provide filling, nutritious snacks and meals, not too high in salt and fat (so we don't feel bloated and lethargic) or too high in sugar (so we don't go off on sugar highs, only to come crashing down a couple of hours later).

5) Do things together.
Spending time as a family builds bonds and strengthens ties. Look for something fun to do that everyone can enjoy, like going to a movie or playing mini golf. It doesn't have to cost anything; even a picnic in the park or a Saturday night movie-and-popcorn-fest in the living room will do.

6) When momma ain't happy......
Forgive me, but I just had to get this in. Call me self-centered, but it's true! And I'm not just talking about myself, but about parents in general. If you're not happy as individuals, or as a couple, it affects the kids and the family. So make sure you take care of yourself -- find something you love to do, something that gives you a sense of self-accomplishment as an individual. And try to make time for you and your spouse to connect as a couple. And maybe schedule a pedicure or a girl's night out for yourself once in a while!

What do you do to stay happy as a family?

Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Farm Rich blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

1 Comments, Leave yours here:

linkwheel on April 5, 2011 at 1:54 AM said...

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