Ever wonder what makes your kids happy? Sure they squeal in excitement when a new Imagination Movers is on. Or when you come home with a handful of new Bakugans. But truthfully, do you know what makes your kids feel good?
As the BBC reports, for children in Britain, playing with their friends came in as number one on the list of happiness-boosting activities. As part of a study by Opinion Matters, a European market research agency, the firm interviewed 1,000 kids under the age of 16 years to find out what made them happy. After playing with friends, their birthday, spending time with family, Christmas, their hobbies and watching a movie were ranked as the top six activities kids that made kids smile. The lowest? Going for a walk (something only 37.3 per cent said made them happy), playing or texting on phones (27.8 per cent) and playing on social networking sites (20.9 per cent) came in the bottom three.
The kids were also quizzed as to what they thought made their parents happy and the results that came back were rather astute observations, I think: the top three things included spending time with their kids, having a vacation and spending time with each other.
After reading this, I got to thinking…what makes my kids happy? I know what they like to do, things they don’t prefer to do (brushing their teeth), things they hate to do (going to bed), the things they beg to do (eat ice cream), but what actually makes my three-year-old son and six-year-old daughter happy? So after they tumbled out of bed this morning and over toasted bagels, I asked them.
Me: Can I ask you guys some questions?
Daughter: Uh huh (slowly chewing bagel and eyeing me suspiciously).
Me: Can you tell me what makes you happy in your life?
Daughter: Family, games…
Me: Games, uh huh.
Daughter: I said friends!
Me: Oh okay.
Daughter: …my brother. Swimming. Baking with you. Helping daddy. Hey, are you recording this with that machine? (Points to digital recorder)
Me: Yes, I am.
Son: And, and, and, also I like going to different worlds without my family.
Me: Different worlds? Wha…?
Son: Hey, something beeped!
Me: And what do you think makes mommy and daddy happy?
Daughter: Reading magazines. Daddy working at the newspaper. Baking cookies. Hugs and kisses for you. Playing with us.
Son: Mommy, come sit beside me!
Me: (Shoving over) Anything else?
Son: I want to play whackamadoodle!
Me: Just a second okay?
Son: Hugging mommy makes me happy. And playing —
Me: Guys, turn off the whackamadoodle!
Son: …and going in a tent and staying in a tent. And playing. (Runs off…)
So while that’s the first time someone’s ever run away from me in an interview, I got the idea and a comforting feeling as to what made my kids feel good. What about you — what makes your children happy?
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