There’s no shortcut to raising happy kids, but as parents we’ll do whatever it takes! (Especially if whatever it takes is easy, right?!?)
Luckily there are a few simple things you can do to rig your kid’s environment for happiness. Our surroundings definitely influence our mood, so why not surround our kids with as much positivity as possible?
To make it even simpler, we’ve provided some printables (just click the images below) to make transforming your kid’s space a snap!
Display positive mantras
Help positive affirmations become part of your kid’s internal voice by displaying them all around in places your child will see often. Get started with our free positive mantras for kids that you can print out or copy! Then use tape, magnets, or even frames to display them on their walls, the fridge, by the bathroom mirror, and on the front door so they see them on their way out into the world.
Make an emotions chart
Being aware of and expressing feelings boosts confidence and self-esteem. Get our free emotions chart here (in color or black and white), and put it someplace where your child can use it to show how they’re feeling with a paperclip or other marker. It’s important to honor and accept all emotions—even the not-so-great ones. Recognizing and dealing with those feelings leaves more room for happiness, and consciously noting of positive emotions fosters mindfulness and gratitude for the good vibes! Plus, knowing when your child is having a really great (or extra tough) day can help you interact with them more effectively.
Provide fun paper & pens
Encourage a habit of leaving kind notes or doodles for the family—because spreading joy brings joy! Leave scraps of paper and colorful pens out so anyone in the family can spread smiles when the mood strikes, or when they see someone else needs a little boost. If blank paper feels too open-ended, you can print out our kind note prompts that make sharing a smile even easier.
Create a calming corner
Finding happiness sometimes means learning to manage feelings like stress, anger, and frustration. Designate a small area to be a “calming corner” that has pillows, sensory toys, and other things that can help kids calm down when they’re upset. Make sure they know they can go there for a break whenever they need it—and you can use it too, to role model healthy coping skills! While there, kids and parents alike can use our journaling prompts to reflect and relax.
Grow something green
Natural surroundings are proven to increase happiness. If your child is interested in caring for a plant, you can get a small potted one for them to water and look after in their room or a common space of your home. Want something less hands-on? A planter with cacti or succulents is lower maintenance, or you can even use pictures, postcards, screen savers, or a fun calendar featuring scenes from nature to get a similar effect.
Nothing says “happiness” like a celebration, but you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to get that feeling! Add bright colors, a DIY pinata, pictures of fun memories, a pretty paper garland, or a pennant banner to your child’s space to make every day feel like a special day.
Clear the air
The sense of smell is strongly tied to mood. Use a spray, candle, lotions, oil diffuser, or other type of freshener to infuse the air in a scent that makes them smile. You can use their favorite scent, from sugar cookies to freshly cut grass, or try one that’s intended for a specific purpose. For example, lavender is said to aid with sleep, lemon can help boost energy and improve concentration, and chamomile is believed to reduce stress.
Want more ways to bring joy into your child’s life? Try one of our fun, connection-building 30-day family challenges (the “love” challenge or “spreading joy” challenge would be perfect!), or check out our resources for kids’ mental health.
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