There are many obvious ways to tell if your children are happy: bright eyes, big smiles and lots of laughter. Here are 5 things that happy, and healthy, kids do. As we all know, a healthy child is a usually a happy one.
Play in the Dirt
The rise in the use of sanitation efforts has resulted in a decrease in many diseases, but an increase in allergies, autoimmune problems, and gut related disorders. When we sanitize to the extreme, we are actually eliminating organisms that are good for us, preventing proper formation of healthy gut bacteria and disrupting the development of the immune regulatory circuits. By not allowing children, especially babies, to (appropriately) play in the dirt, they are missing key nutrients such as iron, zinc, and magnesium.
Research has shown that children living in households with dogs or cats have a decreased chance of developing allergies. This is because of the exposure to dust, prevents a common respiratory infection that is believed to increase the risk of asthma. Babies who lived in households with dogs were healthier than babies in households without a dog.
Get Involved in Sports
Participating in sports improves a child’s physical and psychosocial development. Exposing your child to sports early in life teaches them to prioritize exercise and that it’s fun! While having fun, kids are developing gross motor skills like running, jumping or swimming. Sports help develop psychosocial values such as competition, teamwork, sportsmanship, and respect.
Dress-up is an important aspect for a child’s growth and development that most adults see as a way to express imagination. However, there are many other benefits that children can learn, such as: empathy, vocabulary, and social skills. Children learn empathy from dress-up because it allows them to physically and mentally put themselves in another individual’s role, they can then recognize the hard work that different roles have. Children also increase their vocabulary because they are applying words they have heard into action. Dress-up play stimulates social skills through the use of teamwork and communication. If children want to play house, they have to communicate who will take on what role.
Are Not Always Happy
We all want our kids to be happy! In order to ensure they have happiness for a lifetime, they may not always be happy in the present moment. By focusing on their short-term happiness, we are keeping them in a protected bubble. When they are in this bubble, they aren’t forced to deal with their negative emotions. The best way to start letting your child dealing with their emotions is to realize you are not responsible for your child’s happiness. After realizing this, parents will be less likely to fix their child’s problems and release them from their protective bubble.
The Children’s Hospital of Georgia has the largest team of general pediatricians, adolescent medicine physicians and pediatric specialists in the Augusta area. For more information about CHOG, please visit our website at augustahealth.org/chog or call 706-721-KIDS (5437) to schedule an appointment.